Study: Sludge-treatment upgrade at sewer plant could cost $3 million

JOHNSTOWN – A sludge-drying study commissioned by the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility found it may cost the sewage treatment plant about $3 million to treat the material more efficiently.

Facility Wastewater Engineer Tyler Masick recently briefed the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board on a completed study by Arcadis-US of Clifton Park on ways to deal with sludge.

The board previously authorized the firm to do a study of the facility’s sludge-drying process.

Masick noted the study concerned ways to bulk up the sludge before it goes to the Fulton County landfill for disposal.

Fulton County has a 1998 contract with the sewer board involving transport of sludge to the landfill.

Last spring, the county approved an amendment to the county’s 1998 contract with the sewer plant to assess a $500-per-day surcharge on the sewer plant because quantities of sludge deposited at the dump have grown. The sewer plant has been bringing in greater quantities due to additional activity at the sewer plant.

Masick said there were various factors in the study, including heat recovery. electrical use, natural-gas use, laboratory and maintenance, and landfill tipping fees.

He said Arcadis US came up with several drying options for the sewer plant to consider. He said initial capital costs to implement the project may cost between $2.7 million and $3.2 million. The board took no action.

The study disclosed a sand blending process, which Masick said may be “hard to beat.” This process can help the sewer plant handle sludge.

Facility consultant George Bevington said the process would result in savings for the sewer plant, but capital costs can be high.

Bevington said in April that difficulties have been encountered with sludge bulking using a coal ash product contracted from Casella Organics of Clifton Park.

He said the ash product became hardened when mixed, making it difficult to remove from trucks. He also said the material was solidifying in the conveyor system.

Bevington said substituting sand for the ash product provides a short-term solution.

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