Save the Rain
3:54 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Onon County Taxpayers Will Pay More for 'Save the Rain' Projects

County approves suburban Save the Rain projects like this Westcott Street construction
Credit WAER News

Onondaga County taxpayers will be spending $2 million more this year on projects meant to keep rainwater from flooding the sewer system.  The County Legislature approved the money for additional “Save the Rain” projects…even though the program has its own budget.

WAER News Director Chris Bolt reports on Save the Rain funding and other county business.

One project in Dewitt will have rainwater and snow melt captured in detention ponds, seep into vegetated areas and collect in rain barrels around the new Carrier Recreation Center.  Another in Geddes will build an infiltration trench and catch basins, also to keep runoff out of the sewer system.  Legislator Michael Plochocki acknowledges some criticism of just how effective these projects are.

“There’s certainly no exact data on this, even if we tried we wouldn’t have exact data. To be honest it’s very expensive to even do anything close to accurate calculations so we’re really doing good faith estimates, but they really are estimates.  And there is still a lot of debate, frankly among legislators as to just what projects are saving the most gallons, which are the most effective.  So to an extent it becomes an arbitrary judgment call.”

Nevertheless, the county approved borrowing $2,000,000 for several projects that would divert runoff.  That’s the goal of all the save the rain projects, but the official program applies only to the immediate city of Syracuse…even though runoff from these surrounding towns also runs into the sewers and can help fowl Onondaga Lake.  Plochocki adds these projects improve the overall water and sewer infrastructure.

OTHER LEGISLATURE BUSINESS

  • The county also voted to spend $200,000 to finish a million dollar section of the Onondaga Lake trail, the rest is covered by federal funds. 
  • Lawmakers further approved releasing $75,000 in arts funding for Musical Associates to fund Symphoria…of course that’s far short of the support once given to the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra before it went bankrupt.