MAHOPAC, N.Y.- The town is looking to rebuild a new sewage treatment facility for Sewer District No. 5 at a cost of a little more than half a million dollars.
Sewer District No. 5, located in the Carey Street neighborhood off Route 6N in Mahopac, serves about 67 homes. Those properties will bear the cost of the project, which will be bonded out.
The plant in question is more than 50 years old and town officials say it no longer functions well enough to meet state regulations, which has resulted in several notices of violation from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
John Folchetti, the town’s consulting engineer for the project, gave a presentation to the Town Board at its July 1 meeting, laying out the plant’s history and what steps the town needs to take to remedy the problem.
The plant was originally designed and constructed in the 1970s.
“It was originally a secondary treatment plant and the town took it over in 1979,” Folchetti told the board. “It was a septic tank with a subsurface sand filter.”
The first plant failure took place in 1999 and Bioclere filters were installed the following year.
In 2009, the DEC modified the town’s permit to include ammonia as an effluent parameter.
“But the plant was never designed to remove ammonia,” Folchetti said.
In November 2016, the town received a DEC notice of violation for violations that took place in 2014 and 2015.
“The plant no longer meets its original design parameters and no longer meets ammonia parameters,” Folchetti said.
The town continued to negotiate with the state, he said, and tried “a whole host of different tactics” to fix the plant, but none of them worked.
“We were trying to avoid having to tell the DEC we couldn’t meet the basic design parameters of the plant,” he said.
The town received another notice of violation this past March for all its basic parameters and the plant was deemed to be in failure.
Folchetti said further examination revealed that the plant’s collection system and pipes were in pretty good shape but that a few manhole issues needed to be addressed. He said they looked at two possible ways to replace the facility: a custom plant (individual tanks) or a package plant that comes on a skid and is built to meet specific design parameters for the sewer district. He said the package plant was chosen because it provided a more cost-effective approach.
Bids were solicited from six vendors.
Although the plans call for limited excavation, a building of some sort will be required. The current plant is not inside a building, Folchetti said, and exposure to the cold weather helped expedite its failure. He said he favored the system created by Dynatec, which costs $559,000 and has an annual operating cost of $3,000.
The town had until July 3 to submit its plan to the DEC. Upon approval, the town then would have 120 days to procure design services.
“The plant would come on a flatbed, placed on a pad and covered with an enclosure,” Folchetti said. “The good news is that construction on that site is relatively simple.”
Town attorney Greg Folchetti said he believes that as long as the town is moving forward with the project and meets all the DEC deadlines, it won’t receive any more notices of violation.
“As long as we are on schedule compliance-wise, we will probably be in their good graces,” he said.
Supervisor Ken Schmitt said the town has no other choice but to move forward with the project.
“This has been around for a while and we need to move forward with this,” he said.
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