City seeks state funds for odor issues

JOHNSTOWN — The Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility officials is seeking state grant funding to fix its longtime odor issues, but the answer won’t come until year’s end.

Johnstown 3rd Ward Councilwoman Helen Martin, chairwoman of the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board, recently informed the Johnstown Common Council that the sewage treatment plant is seeking state Consolidated Funding Application money. The state and Gov. Andrew Cuomo won’t announce CFA grant winners by region until sometime in late December.

“They have applied for a Consolidated Funding grant for a Water Quality Improvement Grant,” Martin said of the sewer board.

The CFA was submitted July 28, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation will review it to determine a funding category.

Martin said the funding – if received – could go a long way toward getting the facility’s Contact Absorption Settling Thickening system, or CAST system, “straightened out.” The grant would be for CAST process odor mitigation.

Officials announced in July that the sewer plant was pursuing a “modified” sewage treatment plant processing system — coupled with more possible state funding — in an effort to resolve perennial odor problems. The facility a few years ago underwent an $8 million upgrade to treat waste byproducts mainly from two companies — cheese manufacturer Euphrates Inc. and yogurt manufacturer Fage USA — both located at the Johnstown Industrial Park.

But the upgraded more modern CAST system has been unusable most of the time because it generates strong odors in the sewer plant area. The sewer board previously hired Arcadis of New York to consult the sewer plant on odor issues.

Plant Manager Wallace Arnold told the sewer board July 12 that he received a technical memorandum from Arcadis containing four alternatives for reducing odors generated by the CAST process. He said the most-effective alternative requires modifying the existing CAST process at a cost of about $500,000.

Sewer plant staff started a small, scale-model modified CAST process similar to the suggested proposal for preliminary testing purposes.

By Patricia Older

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