LAKE GEORGE — Design work should be completed in October on the proposed $22 million wastewater treatment plant for Lake George.
Shawn Doty and Mike Budris, engineers from the Chazen Companies, presented the plans at Monday’s Village Board meeting.
The village is under a consent order from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to build a new plant. The existing 85-year-old facility releases an excessive amount of nitrates, which causes algal blooms in the lake and degrades water quality.
Doty said the goal is to send the plans to the state Department of Environmental Conservation by the end of the year.
Village Public Works Superintendent Dave Harrington said he hopes that DEC can turn around the plans so the village can bid the project out in winter to begin in the next construction season.
“We have a concern with how long it’s going to be laying at DEC before it gets reviewed and approved, and what kind of changes or comments they’re going to have on it,” Harrington said.
The plant has to be operational by August 2021, according to the consent order.
Doty said the new plant would go on the existing site.
“Luckily, there’s enough space on this plant to carefully place new equipment and infrastructure while leaving much of the existing infrastructure in place,” he said.
The new plant will use three sequencing batch reactors. When wastewater arrives at the plant, the grit and particulates are screened out.
Then the effluent is pumped to the reactors, which spin the effluent through multiple cycles and adds 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 facility, it will have the consistency of a sponge cake, which will be trucked to a Washington County compost facility.
Doty said the vast majority of the plant is going to be run by a supervisory control and data acquisition system.
“The operator of the system can see what any one part of the system is doing,” he said.
There will be various probes in the tank that will tell about the chemistry of the wastewater, and the operator can shorten or lengthen the cycle times accordingly.
There will also be an administration and laboratory building, where daily water-quality tests will be conducted. A few offices and conference and training rooms will be included, according to Doty.
The village has obtained about half of the funding for the project through outside sources.
Last year, it obtained a $4.27 million state Clean Water grant and $2.5 million from the governor’s Regional Economic Development Council.
Doty pointed out that the Water Quality Improvement Grant was intended to cover 25 percent of the project cost, which has since been raised upward.
That still leaves about $15 million that would fall on the backs of the taxpayers. Doty said the village is applying to the state for an intermunicipal cooperation grant because the village and town share the plant. That grant could pay for up to 40 percent of the remaining cost, or about $6 million. On the bright side, Doty said the village has qualified for a no-interest loan based upon the average resident income. The difference between a 1.8 percent interest rate and a zero percent interest rate comes to about $4.5 million over 30 years.
Harrington said he is hopeful that more money could come in. The village is applying for a grant from the Empire State Development Corp.
Mayor Robert Blais said if the village obtains no other outside funding, it would mean a 50 percent tax increase. Blais said a house assessed at about $250,000 would see its taxes increase from about $1,200 to $1,800.
Trustee John Root reiterated his belief that the village should charge based upon sewer use instead of assessed value of the property.
“I don’t think it’s a fair system,” Root said.