Industrial use of sewer plant highest in more than 10 years

JOHNSTOWN – Industrial use of the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility increased by 22 percent in 2012 – the highest level in more than a decade.

The increase over 2011 was noted in the facility’s 2012 annual report recently made public by the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board.

Plant Wastewater Engineer Tyler Masick said the increase in industrial loadings – or use of the sewer plant by companies – was spread across many types of industries.

“That was a combination of all the industries in [the Glove Cities],” he said.

The report also indicated the facility’s industrial index system does not take into account growth experienced by treating waste separately in the plant’s anaerobic digester. When this growth is taken into account, use of the facility during 2012 was at the highest level in the past 15 years, the report said.

Masick noted the annual report found the facility’s electrical generation also was up in 2012.

A total of 5.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity was generated during 2012. The total kilowatt hours increased 3.9 percent during 2012, since both of the biogas generators were operational during the year.

During 2012, the biogas generators averaged 90 percent electrical production. The result was about $400,000 of electrical energy savings from the generation of renewable power, the report said.

The sewer plant’s anaerobic digester system produced an average of 13.4 million cubic feet of biogas per month, representing a 6 percent increase from the previous year. A significant portion of the biogas powered the facility’s cogeneration system, while the remaining biogas was flared.

The report showed grant requests and management by the administrative staff was “once again a major part of office activities” during 2012.

Reports were prepared for a $1.4 million New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grant and a $6 million Green Innovation Grant from the New York Environmental Facilities Corp.

A Consolidated Funding Application also was submitted, resulting in a $1 million award announced in late 2012 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The money will go toward the cost of an expansion of the plant to better deal with pretreatment of whey from the plant’s largest customer, yogurt maker Fage USA.

A separate $2 million NYSERDA application was submitted, and numerous other grant sources were identified and applied for, the report said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected].

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