Upgrade project at sewer plant gathering steam

JOHNSTOWN – The Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility’s $8 million upgrade project is gathering steam as demolition work gets under way.

The plant underwent a similar $10 million upgrade in 2008. Both upgrades are designed to help the sewage treatment plant treat more waste from local industries, including the expanding Greek-yogurt plant Fage USA at the Johnstown Industrial Park.

The facility upgrade includes additional tanks, a third engine, storage vessels and a pipeline.

“The [sewer plant] project’s moving forward,” facility Wastewater Engineer Tyler Masick told the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board at a meeting Wednesday.

Masick said the C.O. Falter Construction Corp. of Syracuse, which is being paid $3.93 million for general construction work associated with the upgrade, has been at the sewer plant every day. He said the company has brought in tools and equipment, including an excavator and 20-ton crane, as the demolition work continues.

“Every day, it’s getting a little busier,” Masick said.

The sewer upgrade is expected to be funded by at least $4 million in grants, but the city of Johnstown is borrowing for the entire project, expecting reimbursement later. Other local costs will be spread between the two cities. The project is receiving a $500,000 grant from utility company National Grid, as well as state and federal funding.

Masick reported on the status of a $1 million Empire State Development Corp. grant for the upgrade. He said receipt of the grant is “in the works,” but it has to go through the corporation’s board of directors. He said a public hearing and another review of the grant will be required.

Masick also reported on a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grant the sewer plant previously was awarded for the 2008 upgrade. He said the sewer plant recently received the last $173,180 payment from $980,000 in grant funds received from NYSERDA after the facility upgraded its ability to generate its own power.

“That actually closes out that NYSERDA grant,” Masick said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com