OLEAN — A year almost to the week after a high-profile discharge of untreated wastewater into the Allegheny River from the city's sewer system, another discharge of more than a quarter-million gallons was reported.
At 9:49 a.m., a state Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act notification was sent out through the state’s NYAlert system that approximately 330,000 gallons of untreated wastewater was discharged into the Allegheny River over the previous 21.5 hours.
DPW Director Bob Ring told the Times Herald this afternoon that a brief power failure at the pump station caused the pump station to shut off sometime on Tuesday morning, requiring a manual restart. However, the radio system that informs city workers of the need to restart failed due to the outage, and the bypass was learned of during routine daily checks of the station early Wednesday morning.
In response to the discharge, the Allegany Fire Department reported the downriver Allegany boat launch has been closed until further notice.
The source of the discharge appears to be the Fourth Street pump station, which pushes wastewater to the city’s treatment plant through a 3-foot line. The line carries about 75 percent of the city’s wastewater — upward of 9 million gallons a day during storm events.
The station is the same one that discharged roughly 200,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into the river on Aug. 17, 2018. That loss was also attributed to heavy rains and a power outage at the station.
The Common Council OK'd an emergency generator for the station and a second station, at a cost of around $100,000. Ring said the generators have not been installed yet due to regular project design and bidding timetables, but would not have prevented the discharge this week.
(This report has been updated from an earlier version)