LAKE GEORGE — The Village Board on Monday awarded bids for the new wastewater treatment plant, giving the go-ahead for construction to start on the $24 million-plus project.
Mayor Robert Blais said the board voted 3-1 to authorize him to enter into contracts.
“We expect that construction now will begin in August,” he said.
Lake George is under a consent order from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to replace the 1930s-era plant because it releases an excessive amount of nitrates, which can cause algal blooms that degrade the water quality of the lake. The new plant must be operating by August 2021 to comply with the decree.
The low bid for the general contractor was Blue Herring Construction at $16.98 million. The plumbing bid went to R.F. Gordon Plumbing at $451,940.
Family Danz had the low bid of $350,600 for the mechanical systems, and Stilsing Electric bid about $2.29 million for electrical services.
Blais said the village’s engineering firm, the Chazen Companies, reviewed the bids.
“They checked on each of the contractors and found them reliable and capable, each one having had previous experience in what they are proposing to do,” he said.
Trustee Joe Doe Mastrodomenico voted in opposition, but Blais said he did not state a reason. Trustee Ray Perry was absent.
The village has obtained about $6.75 million in outside grants.
Blais said he is optimistic the village will receive more state funding, particularly since Lake George recently was named the most beautiful lake in the United States by the travel website oyster.com. In addition, the Warren County Board of Supervisors has been amenable to providing funding to the initiative.
Blais is seeking to lessen the debt load, which would be about $570,000 in annual payments over 30 years if more funding is not obtained.
Town and village officials have expressed concern about the impact on local taxes.
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The new plant will have a more modern and efficient process for treating waste, according to plant operator Travis Earl and assistant public works superintendent Keith Lanfear, who gave two Post-Star reporters a tour on Friday.
Lake George wastewater treatment plant operator Travis Earl explains how the new $24 million plant will be more efficient during a tour last Friday. The Village Board on Monday awarded the bids for the plant. Check https://t.co/jIvrfTmO5q for an upcoming story. @michaelgoot_ps pic.twitter.com/ChhWxvKfUV— Michael Goot (@michaelgoot_ps) June 24, 2019
Plant officials currently have no way to regulate the amount of oxygen in the tank.
“You have to starve the bacteria, so they will eat the nitrates,” Lanfear said.
The new process will allow plant operators to decrease oxygen in the tank, so the bacteria will remove the nitrates.
“We’ll have more control over our process,” he said. “We’ll be able to control the air to the bacteria, which will allow us to remove nitrates.”
The new plant will use three sequencing batch reactors. When wastewater arrives at the plant, grit and particulates are screened out. Then the effluent is pumped to the reactors, which spin the effluent through multiple cycles and add biological matter and chemicals to treat the waste.
The treated water is sent by gravity to the lower sand beds and pumped to the upper pumps, and the sludge is removed.
When the sludge leaves the plant, it will have the consistency of a sponge cake and will be trucked to a Washington County compost facility.
All of the old buildings will be demolished, except for the septage building, which is only about four years old. Contractors now pay the village a fee to dump their septage. Large items like rags and rocks are filtered out, and the liquid goes into a tank, which is pumped up and processed, according to Lanfear.
About 15 trucks a day are received at the plant during the busy season.
The village has over 8 acres on the site, so there is room to build the new plant in an area where there is an unused sand bed. When the new plant is completed, the existing facilities will be demolished.
“We’re lucky to have the property that we have,” Lanfear said.