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Oneida County Sewer District begins 5-year project to upgrade aging Water Pollution Control Plant

By Journal Staff


UTICA — Oneida County announced it has started construction on a five-year schedule of major upgrades that will “transform the more than 60-year-old Water Pollution Control Plant on Leland Avenue in Utica into a more environmentally sustainable and technologically advanced facility.”

The upgrades seek to help eliminate overflows into the Mohawk River, satisfy New York State Department of Environmental Conservation consent-order requirements, and help the City of Utica with treatment elements of its long-term control plan, according to a county news release.

Oneida County has received grants from NYSERDA and Empire State Development, as well as low-interest financing and principal forgiveness through the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation to fund the project, currently estimated at $265 million, the release stated.

Planned construction work to be completed through 2021 includes:

  • 2016-2019: Biosolids handling technology upgrades, including the installation of new anaerobic digesters
  • 2016-2019: Development of a system to convert methane gas from the anaerobic digesters into combined heat and power
  • 2017-2021: Capacity for split-flow treatment, including the addition of a new sanitary pump station, grit facilities, settling tanks, and high-rate disinfection system
  • 2017-2019: Upgrades to the Sauquoit Creek Pumping Station, construction of a second force main to the Water Pollution Control Plant, and improvements to the Barnes Avenue Pumping Station
  • 2017-2021: Treatment-process improvements, including upgrades to the existing raw-waste pump station, grit-removal system replacement, and secondary treatment upgrades
  • Ongoing through 2021: Addressing aging infrastructure, including HVAC, electrical, structural, roofing, doors, windows, and architectural improvements

“Oneida County is among the many municipalities throughout the nation that is addressing the need to upgrade aging infrastructure,” County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. said in the release. “We have had the great benefit of a collaborative process, in which our Steering Committee has had input since 2007 on the studies and plan development that ensures the most efficient means of repairing and upgrading our system to meet our long-term needs.”

The county said heavy rains or snowmelts can cause stormwater to overwhelm the system and result in sewage overflows into the Mohawk River, as well as backups into basements.

The “answer to this is a three-part fix” that includes rerouting stormwater from the sanitary sewer system through private-property projects, rehabilitation and repair work across the sewer district, and upgrades at the Water Pollution Control Plant, according to the county.

The efforts to reduce sanitary sewer overflows into the Mohawk River began in 2007. In addition to the upgrades at the plant, more than 1,360 manholes and the equivalent of about 104 miles of sanitary sewer have been repaired through the Oneida County Sewer District’s Operation Ripple Effect program, the release stated.

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