Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility still waiting on state approval

Requested use of odor-reducing chemical

JOHNSTOWN — The state still hasn’t responded to a month-old request by the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility to use a certain chemical to help alleviate its long-time odor problems.

The odor problems have continually hampered the facility’s ability to fully run its Contact Absorption Settling Thickening system, or CAST system that is needed to process large amounts of whey. That whey comes from top sewer plant customer FAGE USA, the giant yogurt manufacturer at the Johnstown Industrial Park.

Facility Manager Wallace Arnold recently reported to the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board that a sewage treatment plant request was submitted Aug. 17 to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The facility requested permission to use potassium permanganate to mitigate odors generated during operation of the CAST system.

Facility Fiscal Officer Donna Renda said Thursday the sewer plant still hasn’t heard from the state.

“They haven’t given permission yet,” she said.

Arnold noted a bid for a chemical feed system was approved by the sewer board at its August meeting, contingent upon DEC approval to use potassium permanganate.

Board members directed Arnold to contact the sewer board’s legal counsel to inquire on the status of the DEC approval is consent hadn’t been received by Sept. 17.

Arnold told the board that DEC requested notification of all Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility odor complaints received from the public. The facility’s last odor complaint was received in February. DEC also said that it will be notifying the sewer facility staff of any odor complaints taken by its office.

The facility reported a Notice of Violation received from DEC on March 26. It was issued for odor complaints due to operation of the CAST system. DEC at that time requested submission of a long-term plan for treating high-strength waste and an evaluation of the CAST system by the facility’s engineering consultant.

During the first quarter of the year, Arnold reported that potassium permanganate was successfully added to the washwater process mixing tank to mitigate odors and the CAST system ran well.

The new CAST system, when it’s operational, has tried to serve as the facility’s upgrade to how heavy industrial waste is treated. The Union Avenue Extension facility several years ago underwent an $8 million CAST upgrade to treat waste byproducts mainly from two Johnstown Industrial Park companies — yogurt manufacturer FAGE USA and cheese manufacturer Euphrates Inc. But the upgraded, more modern CAST system had been unusable for many of the weeks and months because it generates strong odors in the sewer plant area.

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