Weekly Feature

2017-09-14 / Local News

Jacobs holds Great Lakes Roundtable

Jacobs Jacobs Twenty-five public and private leaders from 16 municipal and environmental organizations recently met to share ideas and discuss strategies on how to improve water safety and quality and reduce beach closures in communities across Western New York, according to a press release.

State Sen. Chris Jacobs brought the entities together at his first Great Lakes Roundtable.

Jacobs said the goal of organizing the roundtable was to encourage more discussion of problems common to waterfront communities in his district and to facilitate a more collaborative approach to identifying and implementing potential solutions.

His district includes Ken-Ton and Orchard Park.

“The 60th Senate District is bordered by more than 43 miles of waterfront, and that presents both challenges and opportunities,” he said. “Our waterfront holds great recreational and economic development potential, and we must ensure we are environmentally responsible in our pursuit of both.”

One primary area of focus during the group discussion was waterfront revitalization. According to the release, municipal leaders detailed various waterfront revitalization efforts either planned or under way in their communities, both commercial and environmental in nature.

Water infrastructure, specifically storm and sanitary sewers as well as wastewater treatment facilities, was also a topic of conversation.

Aging infrastructure has long been identified as a source of overflows across the region, contributing to contamination and unsanitary water quality conditions that caused an unusually high number of beach closures this past summer, the release said.

City and town officials were able to speak directly to state agencies that could play pivotal roles and provide much-needed assistance in addressing these infrastructure needs.

“Whether it was municipalities jointly seeking coordinated investment in watershed projects or agencies seeking to improve their ability to test water in real time, the ideas exchanged were varied and the collaborative discussion benefited everyone in attendance,” Jacobs said.

“I think the Great Lakes Roundtable and the entities participating will help inform our policy decisions and enable us to pursue actions related to our water that will vastly improve outcomes for our Western New York community.”

City of Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis participated in the roundtable and reported on the city’s progress to date in year five of a 10-year plan to safeguard city sanitary sewers from stormwater infiltration.

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