Maybrook breaks ground on sewer plant
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Mayor Dennis Leahy to a small crowd gathered at the future site of Maybrook’s new wastewater treatment plant.
The plant is to be located adjacent to the existing facility on Route 208 next to Stewarts. The village held a recent groundbreaking ceremony at the site for the new facility, which is expected to be up and running by this time next year.
“This is the largest capital project ever in the village,” said Leahy.
He explained that the project took three years to plan, to make sure they had the best solution for the needs of the village, without incurring astronomical costs.
When the process began, the original estimate for the project was $6 million. APS Contractors’s low bid of $4.7 million was recently accepted by the board, cutting down that figure. The Village DPW has been doing some work in-house including the relocation of a drain line around the site and installation of new manholes.
The repair of a drainage line out to the wetlands was also knocked down to $35,000 over an estimate of $1 million for a completely new line.
Leahy said the plan is to finance the project with bond anticipation notes (BANs) instead of a bond. A bond would require them to take the entire amount at once before the project, leaving them stuck with that figure even if the cost of the project comes in less. With a BAN, the village can take money in increments for stages of construction, with an interest rate of around two percent.
“We’re doing everything possible to keep the cost low to residents,” said Leahy.
Part of that effort was avoiding hefty fines from the DEC, which the department was considering levying against the village because of the state of its wastewater treatment plant.
“The DEC was ready to fine us,” said Leahy, noting that the fines could have been as high as $30,000 per day.
Leahy said they made trips to speak with the DEC, explaining that they were working on putting in a new plant and asking them to work with the village. They did, deciding not to place a consent order on the village or to levy fines as the village moved forward with plans and complied with requests and conditions from the DEC along the way.
The current plant is at least 40 years old and has drawn numerous complaints about odor over the years. Constant repairs have been necessary and various portions are nearing the end of their lifespans—if not exceeding them—but require a large investment to repair or replace. Specifically, DPW Superintendent Matt Thorpe pointed to the trickling filter which needs to be fixed but costs $40,000.
“And that’s just one thing,” said Thorpe.
The village plans to utilize one tank from the old facility and abandon the other. Demolition of the old plant will be done as time and conditions permit.
“The sewer treatment plant is very antiquated,” said Mayor Leahy, adding that continually fixing the bad parts was putting good money after bad. “The plant operators do a phenomenal job keeping things going and within discharge limits [but] there is a definite need for this. It’s going to get done and not passed on to the next mayor or Village Board.”
After four years of work sessions, reviewing different types of systems and working with the DEC, the plan is in place and construction of the new plant is under way.
“It was a good effort. The board really worked hard on it,” said Leahy.
Leahy thanked the village’s employees, trustees and consultants for all their hard work, adding that he was very confident it was going to be a great project and have a huge impact on the village.
“I had total faith in you all along,” Leahy said to the village engineer, Jim DiWinter. “You’ve never let me down and I don’t think you’ll let me down now.”
The new plant will be what is known as a sequence batch reactor, using the aerobic process to treat the village’s wastewater. According to engineering consultant Bipin Gandhi, this will be an improvement or upgrade over the former plant, with a better level of treatment. The affluent from the new plant will be 90 percent as opposed to 70 percent, which means that someone could drink the water coming out of the plant, although it is not recommended.
The deadline for the construction is June of 2014. When construction is complete, Leahy said it will be a simple matter of flipping the switch and the village’s waste will travel to the new plant instead of the current plant. Residents should not notice a difference in service, but may find the air less odorous.
“We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Leahy. “In order to build the village up, we have to build the infrastructure.”
The mayor noted that even as construction of the new plant gets under way, work on the grant-funded sidewalks project for Tower Avenue has already begun and is expected to be completed by May 3.
“The infrastructure is coming back,” said Leahy. “We have to maintain it now so we’re not hit with huge things down the road. That’s what we’re trying to do in Maybrook.”
By RACHEL COLEMAN