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Fage gets approvals for expansion

November 21, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The Common Council on Monday approved two agreements that allow Fage USA to start its $120 million expansion.

The council voted to approve a sewer allocation and capital improvement agreement, and a water-supply agreement.

The agreements appear to be the last local municipal approvals needed before yogurt maker Fage breaks ground on its expansion project at the Johnstown Industrial Park.

The company plans to double production with a new building addition, increasing a 240-person work force by 150 employees. The expansion will also result in larger quantities of whey and yogurt manufacturing waste, which will need to be treated.

Johnstown's approval of the sewer allocation and capital improvement agreement - involving treatment of the company's waste - followed previous approvals by the Gloversville Common Council, the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board and Fage.

"We jointly own the sewer plant and the operation there, so it had to be approved by both cities," Johnstown Mayor Sarah Slingerland told her council.

The 30-year allocation and capital improvement agreement indicated anticipated discharges from Fage are allowed to increase from 127 million gallons of wastewater for 2012 to 286 million gallons by 2017.

Under the agreement, the parties agreed Fage cannot expand unless certain capital improvements are undertaken to increase the wastewater processing capacity of the sewer treatment plant on Union Avenue.

The sewer board agreed to have an engineer determine what capital improvements are needed. The sewer board will bear all costs of the design work to be completed, the agreement says. Capital improvements are expected to cost millions of dollars, although the exact amount hasn't been determined yet.

Slingerland thanked City Attorney Susan Palmer Johnson, City Treasurer Michael Gifford, the sewer board and Fage.

"An awful lot of work went into this," the mayor said. "But I think this will be a document that will be good for now and the future. We're on the right track, and it looks good."

Fage plans to build a 120,000-square-foot addition to its plant on Opportunity Drive and construct a new parking lot. Expansion will include a $25 million whey pre-treatment plant to be built on two acres of nearby property on Union Avenue.

The council on Monday also approved a water-supply agreement with Fage, which had been approved Nov. 13 by the city Water Board. According to a memorandum approved by city officials in August, Fage's consumption of city water will increase from 127 million gallons this year to about 300 million gallons by 2017.

"Again, we worked very closely with the water board," Slingerland said. "We appreciate the work they do."

The mayor described Fage as a "very significant" water user in the city.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at



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