The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

November 9, 2013

Creating better sewers helped many during Great Depression


Bids for contracts went out in September 1932 to build the sewage treatment plant and all the new or improved sewer lines. Property owners had approved a bond issue of $375,000 for the projects several months earlier. In October it was announced that a New York City firm, F.H. McGraw Co. won the contract for the plant, while the Street Brothers Co. of Syracuse won the contract for the sewer lines.

Exact numbers weren’t given on how many were employed, but the Star reported on Thursday, Oct. 27, 1932, “the two contracts, coupled with the construction of the state hospital building and other projects under way, should absorb all Oneonta unemployment and do much to relieve conditions throughout this vicinity.”

The “other” projects referred to in the article already in progress involved building two storage tanks for water below the “Normal reservoir.” That’s today’s pond at the Hunt Student Union building on the State University College at Oneonta campus. Fifteen local men were employed on clearing and building that project, seen today to the northwestern side of Hazel Street and Woodside Avenue, now as three storage tanks. Fifty-nine unemployed men were hired to extend water lines along West Street to the new hospital.

There had been hopes of making the new sewage treatment plant operational by July 1933, but there had been delays. The day finally came on Wednesday, Nov. 1, for “Visitors Day” at the plant.

According to the Star, “At 11 o’clock this morning sewage from the city of Oneonta will be turned into the lines which have heretofore run directly into the Susquehanna river through the pipeline to the new sewage disposal plant, where the sewage will be treated and only water considered of a higher quality than that of the river will be discharged into it.”

Nearly 500 residents turned out for the ceremony where Mayor Francis H. Marx received the plant keys from the McGraw Co., and operations of the plant were explained to those on hand.

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Mark Simonson

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