Attica residents complain over sewage spills from nearby prisons

July 17, 2017 07:26 PM

State corrections officials said Monday they were working to mitigate a spill that released raw sewage out a sanitary line from two state prisons, and prevent such malfunctions in the future.

According to Attica city officials and homeowners, when heavy rains and flash flooding doused Wyoming County on Thursday, sewage escaped from a sewer line that runs from the Wyoming and Attica correctional facilities to a treatment plant in Attica.

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“Nasty. Nasty,” declared homeowner Terry Myers, who said some of that wastewater backed up and came gushing out of his toilet. “I'm going to try to be nice about it. It was nasty. It stunk. It stinks.”

Myers said he was forced to move fast, dropping a submersible pump into his overflowing commode and then replacing it with another pump when the first one overheated, all to keep a surging tide of sewage from flooding his basement.

“It has to go someplace,” Myers exclaimed.  “I think we used the word ‘frustrating’ more than once, along with a couple of other adjectives.”

The state Department of Environmental Conservation said in a statement that it was working with the village on addressing a “surcharge,” meaning an overload of the sewer line, and releases of sewage.

Myers and his neighbors were particularly irked because the ailing sanitary sewer line has been well known for years for backing up and spilling in the area’s periodic rains and flash floods.

“I can't be mad at God for the rain,” he said. “But I can be mad at the people that haven't fixed the damn sewer line that goes from the Department of Correction.”

Over the weekend, maintenance crews from Wyoming Correctional Facility scattered lime around manholes along the sewer line to kill bacteria from the spill and, on Monday, they returned to secure the covers on the manholes. A representative of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said in an email that the department was working on developing a long-term solution.

Officials with the Village of Attica said a plan to replace the line has been on the drawing board for years but that the project was being delayed by challenges in getting easements and rights of way to run the new pipe over various parcels of land including railroad property.

Myers said the need for a new sewer line had become obvious. "You hear it's a ‘once-in-100-years storm,” he said. “Well we're getting it every 10 years. So, who knows?”


Charles Molineaux

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