OLEAN — Another grant request to get the burden of upgrades off local water users is heading to Albany.

Through the state Environmental Facilities Corp., the Olean Common Council has authorized the city to apply for more than $400,000 from a Water Infrastructure Improvement Act grant to build a new pump station in Boardmanville.

According to the request for bids currently on the city website, the project includes a new concrete block building, two 15 horsepower booster pumps to get water from the main line under Main Street up to the tanks at the top of Stardust Lane. Bids are to be opened March 17.

The tanks filled by the pump station handle much of the water needs in the First and Second wards, Department of Public Works Director Bob Ring said, including the Boardmanville and East Olean neighborhoods.

The project is expected to cost close to $690,000, while a WIIA grant would cover up to 60% of the costs, leaving around $276,000 for the city to chip in. If the grant is not acquired, city water users would have to foot the bill over a 20-year bond through higher water rates.

“Currently, we have an underground pump station,” Ring said. “If they have to fix something, they have to go into an enclosed space.”

Council President Paul Gonzalez, D-Ward 3, noted that to go into such spaces, workers have to be trained and follow special protocols to keep them safe.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration notes hazards in confined spaces may include a hazardous atmosphere, a potential for entrapment and a lack of quick egress in an emergency.

“For the most part, stations like this are being built above ground,” Ring said, “which is why it scores well with grant agencies.”

In addition, the pump site will be moving off the hill.

“We’re putting it down in the Main Street area, and we’re building it on top of the water line,” he said.

The project is the latest in a string of much-needed water infrastructure projects to come before the council.

A water line is set to be replaced under Washington Street this construction season. Another project to upgrade the fluoride rooms and equipment at the Water Filtration Plant and Well House 18, as well as add chlorine and fluoride addition equipment at Well House 37/38, is also out for bid this month.

(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at bclark@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)