JOHNSTOWN - The Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility recently filed a $2 million grant application to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to convert its digester gas to electricity.
"We were the first application submitted," Wastewater Engineer Tyler Masick told the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board last week at the facility. "We're hopeful to see about $2 million from that grant."
Masick said NYSERDA has about $20.4 million available in funding statewide on a first-come, first-served basis.
According to the authority website, the New York State Renewable Portfolio Standard funding is available through 2015 to support installation and operation of anaerobic digester gas-to-electricity systems in the state. Up to $2 million is available per project, depending on the project specifications. Application packages must be received by NYSERDA by Dec. 31, 2015, or prior to the exhaustion of the available funding, whichever comes first.
Elsewhere in his plant operations report, Masick stated: "Our 2013 upgrade is continuing despite the arctic temperatures we've been experiencing."
Masick said C.O. Falter Construction Corp. of Syracuse, which is being paid $3.93 million for general construction work for the ongoing $7 million upgrade, has been at the sewer plant most days. Work done so far has included a concrete slab poured and a wall erected.
The upgrade will include a new stainless-steel whey tank, as well as new engines. The sewage treatment plant underwent a $10 million upgrade in 2008-09. Both upgrades are designed to help treat increased waste discharges from the expanding Greek-yogurt plant Fage USA at the Johnstown Industrial Park, and other area industries.
Masick said in January that the sewer plant at this time is at capacity for pretreating whey, but is treating Fage's wash water.
He said last week that he's not sure how long the Fage USA upgrade will take. He said the company has signed an agreement with Iowa-based Proliant Dairy to handle whey the sewage treatment plant can't handle. Masick said Proliant is looking at a "few places" at the Johnstown Industrial Park to set up operation.
"It's a little slow-going now," Masick said of his own facility's upgrade work.
He said crews of five to six laborers are trying to stay busy. Other contractors will get involved in the upgrade in March, Masick said.
Those contractors are: electrical construction - Amaha Electrical Inc. of Cohoes; engine and electrical switchgear - Milton CAT of Clifton Park; and heating and ventilation construction - Family Danz of Albany.
Masick also reported a public hearing on a $1 million Empire State Development Corp. grant was conducted Jan. 10 at Johnstown City Hall. He said no one from the public attended, although Fulton County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director James Mraz attended. He said a draft document was received and initial documents submitted.
Masick said the state Public Authorities Control Board met Jan. 29 for a final review and approval of the Empire State Development grant.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.