A new sewage treatment plant should be built on county landfill property in rural Northumberland, according to county Sewer District officials.
A second treatment plant to serve the northern part of the county would be a response to continuing residential and commercial growth in the county and expected future growth.
The site was recommended to the district by consulting engineers Delaware Engineering of Albany and revealed Wednesday. Sewer commissioners voted to ask the county to sell them 16 acres at the site.
“Our engineer says this is the best site for the kind of plant we want to build,” said commission Chairman Bill Davis.
County Board of Supervisors Chairman Tom Wood, R-Saratoga, said he supports the idea as a way of meeting growth-driven demand for more sewage treatment capacity.
“The county is in dire need,” he said. “We need to add sewer capacity in this county. We need to have a second plant.”
District officials have been talking since early 2011 about building a second plant somewhere in the northern part of the county to take pressure off the current plant in Halfmoon and keep up with the pace of growth. The GlobalFoundries computer chip plant in Malta is generating large volumes of industrial waste water, and it and associated industries are expected to spur more residential and commercial growth.
Davis said the plant will be needed within five years, but preparation needs to start now.
“Based on the growth of this county and the thousands of units that are on the drawing board and the expansion at GlobalFoundries, we feel this is needed,” Davis said Wednesday during a meeting at the current treatment plant. “In five years, this plant will be at capacity.”
The current plant, built in the 1970s, has a 43 million gallon-a-day capacity, but no room for further expansion. Parts of the existing collection system, especially between Saratoga Springs and Malta, are already at full capacity, according to engineers.
The new plant would be designed to handle at least 10 million gallons per day, perhaps more.
Project engineer Ed Hernandez of Delaware Engineering said the total cost will be in the $60 million range. Financing has yet to be discussed.
“Putting in new infrastructure to come down to this plant would be just as expensive,” Hernandez said.
The treated wastewater would be discharged into the Hudson River, which is about a half-mile east of the landfill site.
The district’s plan is to divert waste generated from Saratoga Springs and points north, which now goes to the Halfmoon plant, to the new plant. In addition to allowing for more growth in Saratoga Springs and surrounding areas, the move would free up capacity in the Halfmoon plant now used by Saratoga, allowing for more growth in the southern part of the county.
The project would involve running about 13 miles of sewer line from Saratoga Springs up Route 50 to Gansevoort, then east on Kobor Road to the landfill site. It would run past miles of open or little-developed land, potentially opening that land to more intensive development.
The prospect adds another wrinkle to the evolving situation at the county landfill site, on a bluff overlooking the Hudson in an area of single-family homes and farms.
The landfill was built by the county from 1998 to 2000, but has never opened. Because of pressure to generate new revenue, the county is currently soliciting bids from private companies that may want to buy the landfill and open it as a private waste burial site.
While the landfill itself covers only 23 acres, the county owns 113 acres there. The sewer district wants to buy land immediately west of the actual landfill.
Delaware Engineering also examined possible treatment plant sites in Schuylerville, Victory and Northumberland before settling on the landfill site. Several properties closer to the river were dropped from consideration because of concerns about disturbing archaeological resources,
Delaware Engineering said a sewer plant and an operating landfill adjacent to each other would have mutual benefits because the landfill can take the sewage plant’s sludge and the plant can treat the liquid runoff collected at the landfill.
“It may even help with the sale of the landfill,” Wood said.
Wood said he thinks most supervisors will approve of the site.
“I would expect there would be general acceptance of this,” he said.
Northumberland town Supervisor Bill Peck could not be reached late Wednesday.
The sewer district is sending a letter to Wood asking the county to sell the land. Wood said it may take several months to determine how to set a value on the land and then sell it to the sewer district.
The sewer district’s boundaries are currently in the southern part of the county, but the Board of Supervisors is considering a plan to make the district countywide. A public hearing on that proposal will be held at 4:55 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the county board meeting room in Ballston Spa.
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