Erie County Water Authority Buffalo Transmission Main Restoration

The Erie County Water Authority (ECWA) is a public benefit corporation created to ensure the water supply for Erie County, NY. An emergency interconnection between the ECWA and the City of Buffalo had been installed in 1958 but unused since 1980. It was determined that this interconnection could provide approximately 13 mgd of additional capacity to the ECWA, if it could be restored.

A pressure-testing program was designed and completed that verified the integrity of the pipeline. Having passed the pressure test, improvements to the pipeline were designed for the Pine Hill Station on the ECWA end, for the one mile of 24-inch PCCP main, and for the Texas and Lang meter vault on the City end. The goal was to achieve a fully active interconnection.

Since the main had not been in use since 1980, phase one cleaning required a poly pig. The process was delayed, however, while an acceptable sanitary sewer was located for the disposal of the post-pigging and flushing water. The solution involved channeling the outflow overland to an existing bermed dike surrounding the Pine Hill tank. Post-pigging samples were collected and tested for contaminants that could have seeped into the pipe. These included more than 100 inorganic and organic chemicals, vinyl chloride, MTBE, oil, and grease. The results proved negative for any detectable level of contaminants, and the line was judged safe for use.

Improvements at Texas and Lang included removal of the existing concrete meter vault, installation of a new precast concrete meter vault with Neptune turbine meter, and installation of a butterfly valve with remote actuator for the City. These efforts were complicated by the extremely small work zone available in the densely populated urban area. The City also requested significant monitoring and reporting equipment to conform with its radio-based SCADA system. To determine acceptable connectivity, a radio path survey was conducted. The results indicated a clear path to and excellent reception at a repeater station on the roof of a City facility two miles away.

At the Pine Hill Pump Station the project required removing the existing altitude and back-pressure valve vault, reconfiguring portions of the 24-inch water main and appurtenances, and installing a new valve chamber and two Ross control valves. The new piping and valve configuration would allow water to flow either way between the ECWA and City of Buffalo distribution systems as needed.

Erdman Anthony prepared construction plans and documents for bidding by the ECWA that would include all the improvements noted above. Construction inspection and management were provided by Erdman Anthony. Extensive coordination was required during construction among the myriad agencies involved, including ECWA, City of Buffalo Water, Buffalo Sewer Authority, Town of Cheektowaga, Erie County Health Department, NY Department of Environmental Conservation, National Grid, Verizon, and many more.

The alternatives to this project could have had costs in the tens of millions of dollars. Instead, at an overwhelmingly lower cost, the project was completed safely, on time, within the $1 million budget, within a very limited construction footprint, and with miniscule environmental/social impacts.

Project Details


Buffalo, NY


Erie County Water Authority

Project Contact

Daniel Ziemianski, PE
  • Daniel Ziemianski, PE
  • 716-631-1241 x 1103
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