A faulty valve appears to have been the cause of an overflow of over 500,000 gallons of liquid sewage from the City of Amsterdam’s westside pump station into the Mohawk River. According to an alert issued by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the incident occurred yesterday at 3:15 am, and the spillage occurred over a 3.8 hour time-frame.
The potential for one of the valves to fail at the westside pump station was brought up by Gene Hutchings, chief operator of the city’s wastewater system in a letter addressed to the mayor and common council dated June 20. In the letter, Hutchings described how a flawed initial installation of the valves could result in early failure. Although the valves were scheduled to be replaced as part of a large scale overhaul of the system, for which bonding had already been approved earlier in the year, the mayor and common council acted on Hutching’s warning and approved budget line transfers to cover the cost to replace the valves on June 21.
After a meeting this morning with Hutchings, City of Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa said the work on the valves will be completed within 30 days at a cost of approximately $71,000. Villa also said that there was a problem with the alarm system at the station during the incident that delayed the department’s response to the issue. Villa said that until the work is completed, that the possibility exists for the valve to fail again, but that department staff would be monitoring the station closely.