Sewer plant receives $500K grant

JOHNSTOWN – National Grid presented the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility with a $500,000 renewable energy and economic development grant Thursday, praising the sewer plant for its energy-efficient $7.2 million upgrade.

“It’s been a pretty innovative program for upstate New York,” Bill Flaherty, National Grid regional director, said of the Renewable Energy and Economic Development Grant program.

A news release issued by National Grid indicated the sewer plant recently completed a $7.2 million upgrade that has tripled the plant’s capacity to treat wastewater, up to 1 million gallons a day. The National Grid grant will help pay for the upgrade.

The release said the sewer plant is using an “innovative and environmentally friendly way to generate excess energy that can be exported to the grid and to create a new training program in partnership” with Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

The release noted the economic boom in the yogurt industry has allowed the Gloversville-Johnstown region to grow in recent years.

With continued expansion at the Fage USA yogurt plant in Johnstown, the sewer facility has been in need of an upgrade.

The release said the National Grid grant program awards businesses and organizations, like the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board, for projects that bring together partners to create innovative renewable energy solutions that help create local jobs.

“We’re really proud to be part of this,” Flaherty said. “This really aligns well with our program. It really hit on all cylinders.”

Flaherty added National Grid is happy to be a partner in a project that helped create 150 extra jobs at Fage USA.

“We are trying not to do this alone,” he said.

State Assemblyman Marc W. Butler, R-Newport, said during the check presentation that New York state is also proud of this effort.

“That really means a lot to us,” Butler said. “I really want to thank National Grid for partnering with us, One hundred and fifty jobs is really something to crow about.”

The process being employed by the plant creates biogas to create electricity to be exported to the electrical system. On July 31, the Union Avenue facility became the first of its kind in the state to officially export power to the grid.

Kenneth Tompkins, regional director of the Empire State Development Corp., stated, “This is really a very important undertaking for the state.”

Even though his agency played a “small role,” he said, the project means much for Fage, which can employ more people and be more successful.

Sewer board Chairman Kevin Jones thanked all those present on behalf of the Glove Cities. He also praised the abilities of those running the sewage treatment plant.

“The cities are fortunate for the staff we have here,” Jones said.

Tyler Masick, the former facility interim manager, added that the project is a benefit for the local community.

Officials had refreshments and later toured the sewer plant.