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City of Dunkirk notes rise in demand for water demand

City of Dunkirk Finance Committee members heard some positive updates about the water and wastewater systems last week from Department of Public Works Director Randy Woodbury.

The North County Water District, which the city supplies water to, had “large sales because we had a dry summer,” he said, “They were able to sell some water for agricultural purposes and keep some crops alive.”

The city’s water plant handled the extra volume without any problems, he said. Woodbury did not specify at the meeting who the water was sold to, or how much was sold.

Woodbury also said the new central ventilation system at the wastewater treatment plant is complete. The new equipment “is working great, now they can breathe better” inside the plant, he said.

Woodbury said much of the work on the city’s wastewater system is dependent on a list of projects sought by federal and state agencies. “Regulations for wastewater and water change regularly,” he said.

He noted that the main part of the state’s 2009 consent order, requiring upgrades and renovations to the water system, is complete. There’s some grant money left over from that set of projects and the state has asked the city to use it for security and monitoring at the water and wastewater plants, Woodbury continued.

“If we had money left over from the grant portion, we were targeting that, anyhow,” he said. The money will be used on updated fencing, cameras, alarms and locks.

City council member Nancy Nichols expressed a desire to spend money on an extra worker or two for DPW. She wondered “if there’s any way we can have more employees without horrendously raising taxes.” Stating that even just one more employee would help, she asked DPW officials to “sharpen pencils or put new ink in their pens” to find money for that.

Woodbury said recently acquired equipment has made the current DPW workforce more efficient. “If we had more people and the equipment to match, that would be even better,” he said.

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