By SHIRLEY PULAWSKI
OBSERVER Staff Writer
The village of Fredonia's water treatment plant is being run without a chief operating officer, and the county health department has issued a list of violations at the plant the village must bring into compliance this year.
OBSERVER?Photo by Shirley Pulawski
Village of Fredonia Mayor Stephen Keefe (center), pictured with trustees Joseph Cerrie (left) and Adam Brown (right), said the water treatment plant is currently being run by employees who are certified to run the plant since the retirement of the plant’s chief operator, Rob Lancaster.
The village hasn't hired a replacement for its water filtration plant's chief operating officer since the retirement of Rob Lancaster, and it is unclear when a permanent replacement will be hired.
When asked by the OBSERVER about who is running the water treatment facility at a special meeting of the village board on Monday night, village Mayor Stephen Keefe said the plant is currently being run by three employees who have been with the plant for some time. He said the operators are certified and meet all legal requirements while dividing other responsibilities related to chief operator duties.
"They're sharing duties that are emergency-related and ordering supplies with the help of the village administrator," he said.
Keefe said the board is considering a temporary replacement initially, and has been interviewing candidates. Two consultants have been under consideration, according to Keefe.
"We were hoping to get one in place (right away) but we don't have everything in place right now," he said, referring to paperwork related to certification for plant operation.
"We're looking at hiring on a temporary basis right now. We'd like to have someone who can run the plant but also take a look at the plant and see what we can do to upgrade," he explained. "We're also looking at our own employees to see who might be qualified. We're not rushing into anything."
The board listed the position on industry-specific websites, according to Keefe. "We have a few applications coming in," he said.
The village is also being required to make upgrades to its water treatment facility by the Chautauqua County Health Department after an inspection was performed by county and state health department officials.
In a letter to the village board regarding a plant inspection conducted Dec. 4, the health department stated the plant is still in violation of county health department code Part 5, subpart 5-1.31 related to protection from "cross connection" and set dates for completion of remedies for the violations.
According to the letter, a "reduced pressure zone (RPZ) backflow prevention device needs to be installed" at two points in the system. Replacement of "two very old service pumps" was also recommended. The letter noted engineering plans were due for submission to the health department by Oct. 1, 2012 and completed by Dec 31, 2012, but the dates were not met.
Some of the requirements are related to the storage of dry chemicals in a designated location, as well as an eyewash station and shower in the chemical handling area for employees.
Some of the repairs must be completed by June 30, and others by Dec. 31.
Storage for treated water and noncompliance by the village was also cited as a concern in the letter, stating, "The village of Fredonia remains in violation of Part 5 ... in that there is an insufficient amount of finished water storage to meet fire flows and domestic demands combined. In addition, there is still not an emergency power source at the pump station for the Webster Road storage tank."
The letter pointed out the village has been urged to develop water storage over "the last few years" and reported the board has not given a copy of a study completed by engineering firm Wendel Duchscherer for review.
Other violations the letter said remain are upgrades to manhole covers and frames above the clear well, and overflow modifications to the Webster Road storage tank which have not been implemented.
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