In the time since Beech-Nut left Canajoharie in 2011, village officials have nearly halved the sewer-plant budget from $1.5 million to roughly $800,000.
And with state assistance announced last week, residents can expect even more savings, Mayor Francis Avery said Friday.
Canajoharie is among more than a dozen communities sharing in about $451 million in grants and loans approved Thursday by the state’s Environmental Facilities Corp., according to an announcement from the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Canajoharie had too much capacity when baby food maker Beech-Nut moved to its brand-new plant in the town of Florida two years ago.
Now, with the help of a $750,000 grant and an interest-free loan of $1 million, Avery said the village will bring the plant's 1979 technology up to today’s standards.
“We’re going to enter the 21st century,” Avery said Friday.
Avery said the money announced last week will bring to $3 million the amount the village has spent on the wastewater system over the past few years.
Upgrades, he said, will make the system more efficient and therefore less expensive because it will use less electricity.
A diffuser will be installed to blow air into sewer sludge, ultimately leading to fewer tons of dried sludge heading to a landfill.
It will also reduce the amount of chemicals needed to treat the wastewater that’s treated before being sent into the Mohawk River.
Unlike many local communities, Canajoharie has succeeded in separating its wastewater system from storm water drainage, eliminating most infiltration issues communities are struggling with.
Avery said bids for the newest project are expected at the end of this month and work could begin in November.
The local loans and grants represents part of the state Environmental Facilities Corp.’s most productive year to date, with a record-breaking $1.93 billion in financing for the 2012-13 year, according to the release.
Other funding approved by the EFC an for municipalities in and around the Capital Region include:
u Town of Cobleskill, Schoharie County, $3.19 million in interest-free and low-interest loans to support the town’s sewer and water extension project that will bring services about five miles along the state Route 7 corridor.
u Village of Corinth, Saratoga County, $900,000 of interest-free financing for upgrades to the water distribution system and a filter plant for the village’s well water.
u Town of East Greenbush, Rensselaer County, $13.7 million for upgrading the wastewater treatment plant to bring it into compliance with federal requirements.
Investments in water and sewer systems are considered an investment in health, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a release.
“Working with municipal leaders, the state is helping localities to afford the cost of maintaining and improving this vital infrastructure,” Cuomo said in the release.