Updated 06/07/2012 06:20 PM
Upgrades in process for sewage treatment facility
Some changes are underway in how waste water is treated in Broome County. The State DEC approved a plan to make operations at the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Facility more efficient. YNN's Chris Whalen tells us about the upgrades.
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VESTAL, N.Y. -- On an average day, the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Facility takes in about 20 million gallons. On days when it rains or snows, however, that total can increase by as much as three times and in some cases, waste water can end up in streams and rivers.
"I think everyone cares about the environment, we all want to reduce flows into the river," said Catherine Aingworth, superintendent of the sewage facility.
More water to process also means more money spent.
"We use electricity to pump it, we use electricity to treat it, we use chemicals to treat it and it's rain water. The more of that we can remove and just focus on treating sewage, the more economical that should be," Aingworth said.
The owners of the plant along with municipalities it services worked together to develop a four year, three-step process that will allow the facility to be more efficient. It involves improving and maintaining current sewer lines, as well as monitoring the waste water system to avoid over capacity and pollution.
The improvements will cost about ten cents per day, per person served. A small sum, the sewage board chairman says, in comparison to what could happen if the facility doesn't comply with state standards.
"Maintenance has to be done to keep the system in compliance so we don't deteriorate or degrade to a point where we're not in compliance and there's a more stringent requirement put on," said flow management workgroup chairman, Ed Crumb.
The program will continue to be phased in, with mandated inspection portions that will continue over the next 25 years.