1882 to Present
1991 detailed history
referendum was held on July 2, 1883 that there be raised by tax the sum of $1,200.00 to pay the annual rent to Water Works Co. for thirty years for 30
hydrants to be used by the Village. This commitment by the voters made a public
water supply economically feasible and the Wellsville Water Co., a private firm,
was incorporated in September of 1883. On December 1, 1883 the Village began
paying hydrant rental and the Water Company was in business.
The first water supply came
from a reservoir built on Crowner Creek about a mile southwest of the Village.
The reservoir covered an area of about 1.75 acres, was 24 feet deep and had a
capacity of 5 million gallons. Remnants of this reservoir are still in place
today. Shortly after this reservoir was built, a law suit was instituted against
the Water Company claiming damages for depriving water from Mr. Crowner. He was
awarded $200 plus $800 court costs.
As a result of this
litigation and additional water supply was developed by installing nine driven
wells near the bank of the Genesee River near where the current water treatment
plant now stands. Eight of the wells were 20 - 27 feet deep and the ninth
was 175 feet deep. Around 1905 - 1906 the Crowner Creek reservoir was removed
from service due to contamination and the wells supplied all of the Villages
water until 1916.
The original water
system cost $40,000. The yearly revenue from water rates was $3000 in addition
to the Village's hydrant rental of $1200. By 1906, 3,800 of the 4,355 Village
residents were served by the Water Company, the average daily consumption was
510,000 gallons. Total earnings were $14,568.11 and expenses were $13,617.50.
dissatisfaction with the Wellsville Water Co. by Village residents, the Village
tried several times to buy the company starting in 1910. The value of the system
in 1912 was $75,850. On September 1, 1915 the Village Board decided to purchase
the Wellsville Water Company. The voters overwhelmingly approved these
purchases. The purchase price for the water co. was $75,000.
In 1916 a slow sand
filtration plant was built at the top of Lee Place at a cost of $75,000. This
plant did not perform as expected. The Genesee River proved too muddy for the
plant. Ice damage to the filters caused cracks in the walls and floors allowing
a large amount of leakage, which amounted to 100 million gallons a year. This
leakage caused substantial damage to private property on E. State St. leading to
more lawsuits against the Village. In 1916 a new intake dam and chamber was
built using 2 inch thick pine planks.
The 3 million gallon
open reservoir (190 ft. diameter, 15 ft. deep) on Lee Place was built as a part
of the slow sand filter in 1916 and it is still in service. It was relined with
Gunite, a sprayed concrete, in 1928, at a cost of $25,000.
The Village hired
engineers to come up with a solution which was to abandon the slow sand filter
technology because it was both obsolete and not adapted to cold climates. They
recommended a 1 million gallon per day rapid sand mechanical filter plant. The
Village Board agreed to build this plant at the site of the electric plant on W.
State St.. So after five years the slow sand filter was history. The foundations
are still evident and the dedication plaque is displayed in our new treatment plant.
On May 21, 1921 the
Village voters approved %40,000 in funding for the new plant. The successful
bidder was J. F. Williamson Co. of NYC with a base bid of $35,979. Construction
proceeded with minimal problems and this plant proved to be a great success. It
operated successfully with minimum maintenance until July 1990, a period of 69
years treating about 25 billion gallons of water. This was a very difficult
plant to maintain because of the cramped quarters and lack of access to the
process units which is the reason that the filter sand was only replaced one
time. The average daily consumption in gallons was 461,000 in 1922, 981,000 in
1948 to 1,000,000 when the plant was removed from service in June 1990. This
plant was running at full capacity 7 days a week, 24 hours a day which made
maintenance very difficult.
In 1929 a concrete
intake dam was constructed jointly with the Sinclair Corp. because it was
determined that a major expansion at the refinery would have a negative impact
on the water quality. This intake supplied water to the Sinclair power house and
the Village treatment plant. This line was a 16 inch wooden stave line.
In 1948 an additional
750,000 gallon steel tank reservoir was built. This gave us a storage capacity
of 3,750,000 gallons.
In 1956 the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers built a badly needed flood control project on the Genesee
through Wellsville. The Corps had to redesign this project after completion to
provide increased capacity. This required the Village to move their existing
intake, so two years after the "Hurricane Agnes" flood of 1972, a new
intake was built adjacent to the treatment plant.
In 1967 the Water &
Light Board hired a consultant to search for a ground water supply since it
would be cheaper to have wells than a new treatment plant. These results were
not encouraging. The flood of 1972 put the new treatment plant on hold for some
In 1981 serious erosion
of the old Sinclair landfill and pollution of the river was discovered. This
problem was placed on the "Superfund" list and given a high priority
nationwide because of the threat to the water supply. New York State DEC, using
funds supplied by ARCO, successor to Sinclair Refining Co. built a new intake,
pump station and transmission line upstream of the refinery site. This intake
was turned over to the Village in 1988. The 1974 intake and pump station was
retained as an emergency backup.
in 1982 the Village
started planning the replacement of the rapid sand filter plant. Lozier
Architects of Fairport, NY were retained to assist in deciding on a water supply
source and designing the required facilities. A ground water supply was briefly
considered but the ground water pollution found at the old Sinclair oil refinery
site during the "Superfund" investigations made a ground water source
near the treatment plant site very unpromising. Geologists were not optimistic
about finding adequate water at any single location. Consequently the Village
decided to stay with the Genesee River as its source.
Bids were opened on
April 18, 1989 for the new treatment plant. The successful bidders were; General
Contract, MED Constructors of Buffalo, NY - $2,162,000; Electrical Contract, Box
Electric of Bath, NY - $218/,300; Plumbing & Heating Contracts, Sky Plumbing
of Wellsville, NY - $106.014. A total bid of $2,486,314.
Construction began in
June 1989, the new treatment plant went in to service June 1990. This treatment
plant has now been in service for eleven years and it has proven to be very
successful. This plant has a 500,000 gallon clearwell which gives us a total of
4,250,000 gallons of storage when combined with the reservoirs. We have plenty
of room for growth as we are currently operating 80 hours per week.
In 1990 two additional
raw pumps were installed at the new intake bringing the total pumps to four. Two
15 hp and two 25 hp pumps.
The steel reservoir was
removed from service and demolished because of structural damage in the fall of 1997. Our
storage capacity is now down to 3,500,000 gallons.
On February 6, 2001
bids were published for the construction of two 2 million gallon concrete
reservoirs. One will be built where the steel reservoir was and the other will
be constructed inside the current location of the 3 million gallon open
reservoir. These reservoirs will allow us to discontinue chlorination at the
reservoir because they will not be open to the outside elements. On
February 20, 2001 the bids were opened and Natgun received the contract,
construction should begin very shortly. April 4, 2001 land preparation began for
the first of two 2 million gallon reservoirs. June 8, 2001, the first reservoir
is very near completion. The force main and distribution lines are being
connected to the tank. This tank should be in service near the end of June 2001.
March 2001, Dana Harris was chosen as New
York Rural Water Association's "Operator of the Year". This award is presented
to water operators in systems serving 10,000 persons or less.
June 26, 2001, the open reservoir is
officially out of service as of 0900 hours. We are draining the remaining water
and construction of our second Natgun covered reservoir will begin. The Village
is now on the first Natgun reservoir as of 0900 hours. The second reservoir will
be constructed in the location of the open reservoir.
October 19, 2001 - The second Natgun
reservoir is now on line. We have stopped chlorinating at the reservoirs because
they are both covered.
March 2005, The Wellsville Water Treatment
Plant was chosen as New York Rural Water Association's "System of the Year".
This award is presented to systems serving 10,000 persons or less.
September 2006, The Wellsville Water
Treatment Plant received the National Rural Water Association's environmental
cleanup project award, presented in Dallas. All fifty states submitted projects
for this award. The project involved cleaning up a "community" dumpsite along
the back river rd. which effected our watershed area. Many thanks to the Boy
Scouts, Willing Fire Police and local neighbors.
To read local articles on this clean up
project, click on the following links:
WELLSVILLE DAILY REPORTER
May 2012, The Wellsville Water Treatment
Plant received the New York Rural Water Association's "Friend of New York Rural
Water Association" award.
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