Utica, NY (WIBX) - The City of Utica has completed the first phase of its sewer compliance project.

Mayor Rob Palmieri was at Purple Heart Park to discuss the next segment of the project, targeting the east portion of Utica's West side and South Utica, near the Parkway.

"The city is moving forward," Palmieri said. " We've just taken over the final stage... we we're here back in April, talking about the construction and changing the combined water and sewer. Now, what you're seeing is the finalization of many months of a lot of reconstruction below the grate."

By separating storm and sewer drains, residents will avoid back ups and other flooding of potential waste material, which has the potential to be unhealthy.

The pink and brown areas are the areas picked for the city's second phase.
Gino Geruntino, WIBX

The $70 million project is partly funded through the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, led by former Syracuse mayor, Matt Driscoll.

The first phase of the project has cost more than $11 million, but the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation and the Department of Environmental Conservation have assisted the city in securing grants and other funding.

"It's all about water quality and making sure that we're protecting the environment and enhancing people's lives," Driscoll said. "As I talked about, you know, having discharges of sewage into peoples' homes certainly is not a healthy situation."

Driscoll says the new sewer lines should last between 50 and 60 years.

EFC has helped the city receive more than $14 million in grants, combined with nearly $5 million from the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Palmieri says the next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring.