Glenville and Scotia officials have hired a consultant to study the possibility of building and jointly operating a sewer plant.
Both the Glenville Town Board and Scotia Board of Trustees have contracted with John M. McDonald Engineering to conduct the study, with each municipality paying half the $9,000 cost.
Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the study would be completed in about two months. “We anticipate a report back mid- to late April and then we’ll make decisions based on that report,” he said.
Glenville and Scotia officials have been having informal talks about the idea since last fall. Both municipalities currently discharge their wastewater to the city of Schenectady and have been hit with rising costs. Glenville’s payment to Schenectady, for example, has risen from $318,903 in 2009 to $455,000 this year. Scotia paid the city a little more than $700,000 in 2011.
A study conducted by Delaware Engineering in 2007 concluded that it would cost $12 million to build a sewer plant, which both municipalities determined was cost-prohibitive at the time. Another challenge was finding a suitable site along the Mohawk River. Constructing the new plant would allow sewer service to be extended to about 1,600 new properties, according to that report.
One change that has occurred since the last study is the new buildings in town, including the construction of Lowe’s and Target stores, a new office and residential complex planned for a 10-acre parcel between Socha Plaza and Socha Plaza South on Route 50 and the possibility of more growth in Corporations Park and at the old Navy Depot, which is in the process of being turned over to local authorities.
Koetzle says the idea of a joint sewer plant is worth revisiting. He pointed out that Baptist Health System was delayed during its permitting process with the Department of Environmental Conservation for its new nursing home on Swaggertown Road because of concerns about wastewater.
“It really kind of held us up a little bit because they weren’t sure if Schenectady could handle the flow,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of development in the pipeline — no pun intended — so we can’t allow that to be held up.”
Another issue officials have cited is that Schenectady’s plant soon will require expensive upgrades and the costs will be split among the users.
Koetzle said advantages of a new plant is it would have more modern equipment, be more environmentally friendly and have the ability to be built in a modular fashion, so it could be expanded easily if demand warranted.
The project likely would be bonded, according to Koetzle. If the cost were feasible and both municipalities wanted to proceed, the next step would be to send out a request for proposals for actual construction, he said. Scotia Mayor Kris Kastberg estimated it would take about two years from start to finish to obtain permits and build a new plant. He said he was dissatisfied with the last study and also believes the matter warrants another look.
“It came back a little bit wishy-washy with no real definitive findings. I think times have changed a little bit,” he said.