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FREDONIA – Work will begin soon on a $1 million project to redirect Canadaway Creek’s streambed away from raw sewage lines at the Fredonia Wastewater Treatment Plant and avert a potential disaster, officials said Tuesday.

At a ceremonial groundbreaking at the plant, representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that contracts for the project already have been awarded.

Mayor Steve Keefe said the project has been in the works since 1999, when former Mayor Frank Pagano and Trustee Joe Cerrie became concerned that the creek streambed was meandering toward the lines that carry raw sewage to the plant for treatment.

It was estimated that the stream bank moved about 100 feet in the last 50 years, according to studies provided by the Army Corps.

Keefe said the project will redirect the creek in more of straight line, keeping it from the sewer lines and hopefully averting a natural disaster.

“It has been a scary situation for a number of years,” said Keefe. He said local officials monitored the proximity of the creek waters as they got closer to the sewer lines.

Keefe gave credit to Rep. Brian Higgins, who had represented the area before redistricting, for securing the funding. He said that Rep. Tom Reed, who now represents the area, reaffirmed the $700,000 federal grant that will be used to help cover costs. The village is expected to cover about $308,000 of the total.

The project includes an 800-foot trench and fill in Canadaway Creek, beginning about 5,000 feet upstream of where the creek meets Lake Erie.

Lt. Col. Karl Jansen, Buffalo district commander of the Army Corps, said the project has multiple benefits. He said that in addition to preventing the creek waters from intersecting with the sewer line, the project will be done without interfering with the fish and other aquatic habitat in the creek.

“If the sewage line fails, raw sewage could run directly into Canadaway Creek and subsequently into Lake Erie,” he said.

Construction is expected to begin shortly and be completed by October.

Jansen and Keefe were joined in the groundbreaking by Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, and Jacqueline Chiarot, representing Reed.