King points out regional plant details
MONTOUR FALLS—Some 40 people attended the second public information session about the potential regional wastewater treatment plant Wednesday, Feb. 12 at the Montour Fire Hall. Montour Falls Mayor John King gave a presentation about the options the village has to upgrade or replace their aging wastewater treatment plant and the opportunity to be involved in a regional plant project with Watkins Glen. King highlighted some of the concerns brought up during the previous input sessions regarding how the cost will be shared among the municipalities.
King said the cost “will be spread equally among residents based on water usage,” adding under the regional approach, the projected user fee would go up to $47 per month. King said an outright replacement of their own plant would be the most costly route, causing the rates to increase to $65 per month. The mayor added that while merely upgrading the plant would lead to a $38 per month rate cost, the plant would eventually require replacement due to old technology and increasing standards, which would mean a more than $92 per month fee after the upgraded plant is replaced.
“If we go down the path of fixing our current plant, we still have old technology in the plant, we are limited in the growth we can have in the village,” King said. “When requirements change, and they are almost sure to happen [...] we are going to have to replace that plant, and we will have to incur the cost of alternative B somewhere down the road.”
King said for the rate structure, the operations and maintenance costs will be apportioned partially based on actual flows contributed by each village, while maintaining focus on reducing inflow and infiltration issues in each. He said the debt service for the project will be apportioned equally to each user.
Greg Cummings of Larson Design Group said Montour Falls has been experiencing inflow and infiltration (I&I) issues, which amounts to rain and groundwater entering the collection system through things like cracked pipes and faulty manhole covers. He said I&I can contribute to a heavy flow which can overwhelm the system. Cummings said with the regional plant, at worst 1.4 million gallons per day will be coming into the plant, but I&I studies being conducted by each village should help bring that number down.
“Both villages are dedicated to spending $1.8 million to reducing I&I,” Cummings said. “It should reduce the flow to 1.2 million gallons per day coming into the plant.” He said planned technology provides them the flexibility to operate at 0.8 million gallons a day. Cummings also added that it is impossible to completely eliminate I&I, but added the studies being conducted by each village can help identify problem areas and reduce the peaks.
King said the plant will be managed by a joint project committee that will administer design, construction and operation and maintenance of the regional plant. He said two representatives from each village will sit on the committee with rotating chairmanship. The mayor said there will also be one representative each from Dix and Reading with one rotating tiebreaker vote.
King said budgets, capital spending and user fee structure must be ratified by both village boards, with one village being the administering village to employ staff and handle accounting, which will be subject to audit.
King said there will be another public meeting to discuss which site is the best option for the proposed regional plant in the future. He said while he is not the one who will decide whether Montour Falls will go with the regional approach, he added it is a rare opportunity for collaboration and would be the most cost-effective method during a longer span of time than upgrading or replacing their existing plant.