Engineers: waste plant may be $31M
MONTOUR FALLS—Representatives from the Schuyler County Legislature, Watkins Glen and Montour Falls village boards, and the town of Reading attended an informational meeting about the proposed inter-municipal wastewater treatment plant, Thursday, May 2.
Engineers are studying the various costs for either village to repair, build new, or construct a joint wastewater treatment plant, called Project Seneca. Shannon Harty, managing engineer for Barton and Loguidice, explained both Watkins’ and Montour Falls’ existing plants are at least 50 years old and need some form of repairs. Both facilities are also near recreational activities. Harty added the Watkins plant is “near the end of its useful life.”
Harty and Greg Cummings, engineer for Larson Design Group, presented the options being researched. The only cost the engineers had estimated was for the joint facility. Hardy said it would be approximately $30,836,000.
While Montour can rehabilitate their existing facility, Watkins cannot. Harty explained the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a consent order to Watkins Glen for infiltration issues. The concern for Montour Falls is that the equipment would still be old. There was no cost estimate yet for Montour to do this.
The second option was for each village to build a new treatment plant at the current locations. Harty said this would allow the villages to better handle their inflow and infiltration issues. She added Watkins would need to purchase some land to the east of the plant to build. There were no costs yet for this either.
The third option would be to build a new plant at a completely new location. According to the engineers, this is not an option for Montour Falls. Harty said they have reviewed two possible locations, near the canal, for Watkins Glen. Again, no costs were available for this yet.
The final option is to build a joint wastewater treatment plant and close the villages’ individual facilities. Harty said the estimate now is $30,836,000 to build a joint plant. She added a $24,820,000 option could be covered by grants, but with less equipment. She said Project Seneca is currently applying for other funds. Harty estimated the annual cost per household would be around $624, but this does not factor in grants. Montour Falls Trustee Phil Smith commented they need to see what the other options cost to see which is best.
Harty explained the two villages would connect their systems with a joint facility. She said pumps would be added at the existing plant locations in both Watkins and Montour. The system would include the parts of Dix and Reading that are already connected to Watkins Glen. If the villages decide to go with a joint plant, the former buildings would be demolished and be available for development.
Hardy added a joint plant would offer more services than an individual plant can. She explained the engineers are looking to include solid waste composting, tertiary treatment, biogas production and the ability to receive septage waste.
The project currently proposes a joint location along the canal in Watkins Glen, on land owned by the U.S. Canal Corp. However, Harty explained for that to be finalized the villages would need to provide an equal amount of land somewhere else to the Canal Corp.
Harty said the engineers will continue studying the proposals until about the spring of 2014. She said the villages will make a choice then on which option to select.