Glove Cities seek to solve odor problem

JOHNSTOWN – The Glove Cities sewer plant manager says he will meet with his board next week to hopefully resolve a two-year-old odor problem that has mostly grounded th plant’s new $8 million upgrade system.

“I’d like to say definitely, but I’m not a salesman,” Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility Manager Wallace Arnold said Tuesday.

Lingering foul odor problems has caused the Union Avenue sewage treatment plant to halt operation of its new CAST upgrade system four times in the last two years.

Sewer officials say the Contact Absorption Settling Thickening system, or CAST system, is a more economical way to treat incoming waste. It also helps to create methane gas the plant uses to generate electricity and sell excess back to the electric grid.

The main focus of the upgrade project is to treat waste byproducts mainly from two companies – cheese manufacturer Euphrates Inc. and yogurt manufacturer Fage USA – both located at the Johnstown Industrial Park.

Arnold said he will meet with the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board at 7 p.m. Oct. 12, and propose two possible remedies.

“We’re going to use a biotower and a scrubber,” he stated.

Board Chairwoman Helen Martin said the CAST system operation has been down since May – the last time it had to be shut down because of odors.

“It’s not going to be an inexpensive fix and that’s unfortunate,” Martin said.

She said if the facility had known of odor problems earlier, they would have been fixed two years ago.

Arnold told the board in August that engineers were reviewing a proposal for a chemical scrubbing system to mitigate mercaptain – organosulfur compound – odors associated with the CAST process. Barton & Loguidice engineers gave a presentation to the board Sept. 14 on CAST operations, air sampling, and proposed odor control alternatives. Chemical and biological air scrubbing systems were discussed, with no decision made.

The CAST process utilizes waste-activated sludge microorganisms from the existing aeration process to absorb biological oxygen demand from the dairy washwater stream. Officials say the combustible gas which results from the process fuels three 350 kilowatt generators. The 1 megawatt plant creates more power than it uses.

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

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