Sewer plant seeks $900K federal grant to aid upgrade

JOHNSTOWN – The Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility this month applied to the federal government for a $900,000 grant to assist with its upgrade project this year involving the Fage USA yogurt factory expansion.

Fiscal Officer Donna Renda said Tuesday a pre-application was submitted on behalf of the cities of Gloversville and Johnstown to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.

The application seeks $900,000 in funding through a HUD Public Facilities Infrastructure Grant, she said.

“It’s a joint application between the two cities, with Johnstown as the lead [applicant],” Renda said.

She explained that the sewage treatment plant continues to be in the upgrade mode it began in 2008, as the Fage yogurt plant at the Johnstown Industrial Park continues to upgrade its own operation. The sewer plant upgrade is needed to keep up with pre-treating more yogurt byproducts, such as whey, that will be entering the Glove Cities’ sewer system.

Renda this month told the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board that the HUD application was collectively worked on by the sewer plant and the two cities.

The expansion is under way at Fage USA, 1 Opportunity Drive. The first phase involves building milk-receiving areas with two bays and a new road around the building. The second phase will entail additions of laboratory and research areas inside the existing building. The third phase will include a 180,000-square-foot addition to the plant.

Discharges from Fage are expected to increase from 127 million gallons of wastewater for 2012 to 286 million gallons by 2017.

The state in December also awarded the sewer plant $1 million to expand capacity at the sewer facility on Union Avenue in Johnstown. Fage’s expansion is expected to create new 150 jobs on top of 240 currently, but no new jobs are expected with the sewer plant upgrade. Part of the upgrade will involve a low-energy way to pretreat the influx of dairy waste from Fage.

The sewer board at its last meeting also discussed other reports on the upgrade project, according to Hilary Ruzycky, administrative aide.

She said Wastewater Engineer Tyler Masick reported state Environmental Quality Review forms for the project were submitted to all involved agencies. The forms asked that they respond within 30 days to the proposal of the sewer board serving as lead agency and asked for submittal of any comments they may have on the proposed project and environmental effects.

Correspondence was received from the city of Gloversville consenting to designation of the board as lead agency.

Facility consultant George Bevington requested and received board authorization to develop a memorandum of understanding between the sewer plant, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth and Fulton-Montgomery Community College. He said the memorandum is needed showing a partnership with economic development and a university, as a requirement for a National Grid renewable energy grant the sewer plant is seeking for the upgrade project.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at