JOHNSTOWN - The Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board has started the bidding process on the plant's proposed $7.3 million upgrade project.
The project is expected to help the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility handle increased waste discharges from the expanding Greek-yogurt plant Fage USA, as well as other area industries.
Action by the board Wednesday to seek bids for initial parts of the project followed a presentation by sewer plant Wastewater Engineer Tyler Masick and Eric Pond, an engineer with Syracuse engineering firm Barton & Loguidice, which is doing design work. Initial bidding involves a new engine, general construction, heating-ventilation-air conditioning and electrical work.
"This treatment plant treats significant industrial loads," Pond said.
Bids will be opened Aug. 7 and reviewed Aug. 12 by the board. The upgrade is expected to begin Sept. 12 and conclude in December 2014.
As Fage expands at the Johnstown Industrial Park, a 125 percent increase in gallons of wastewater discharge over the next five years is estimated. The upgrade is expected to help handle whey from Johnstown cheese manufacturer Euphrates Inc., too.
"It does allow this plant to accept some wastewater from other users," said sewer plant consultant George Bevington.
The project is expected to be funded by at least $4 million in grants, but the city of Johnstown is borrowing for the entire project, expecting reimbursement later. The other local costs will be spread between the two cities.
"We're working on several grants," said Masick.
Those include a $500,000 grant from utility company National Grid. Masick said the facility is also working on grants through the state and federal governments.
Pond said the project also involves waste loadings that can eventually be harnessed into useable energy. He said the goal will eventually be to establish a "net zero [utility use], self-sufficient facility."
"We're actually going to have additional power capacity," he said.
Pond detailed a technical process by which Fage's increased loads will be treated, including having the waste go through a gravity sewer. He said a pump station will be employed to intercept waste-activated sludge and introduce it to the washwater. Eventually, solids are settled out in the thickener and a belt process carries the products on to a further pre-treatment process.
The new equipment will include a new stainless steel whey tank, as well as three engines as part of the project, Pond said.
Pond said Barton & Loguidice's work has already included 93 design drawings, a three-inch specification booklet and many meetings between his company and the sewer plant.
"We are prepping these for bid," Pond said. "It is keeping us very busy."