In an effort to promote economic growth, community leaders in Delaware County are turning to waste. A new project at SUNY Delhi aims to create more business opportunities by repurposing waste water. YNN's Chris Whalen details the plan and how it impacts not just thousands in the county, but millions downstate.
DELHI, N.Y.-- In recent years, SUNY schools have taken a big step in becoming major catalysts for economic growth in their communities. SUNY Delhi wants to be a part of that trend, but it's at a slight disadvantage.
"Because we're in the New York City Watershed, our opportunities for manufacturing growth are very limited," said Dr. Candace Vancko, president of SUNY Delhi.
With restrictions in place to protect the water supply for some 12 million residents downstate, the college came up with a plan to help grow the economy while maintaining the watershed.
"This project here is taking waste water from the Delhi Waste Water Treatment facility and recycling it through an irrigation system on the golf course," said Lee Telega, New York State Director for USDA Rural Development.
With the treatment plant approaching capacity for the amount of intake it is allowed under state law, the plan will create space for an additional 200,000 gallons each day. The availability for extra intake is critical as the two major manufacturers in Delaware County look to expand.
"Without that capacity, these processing plants, that are always looking for new markets and always developing new products, they may not stay here, they may wind up going away," Telega said.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined campus and community leaders Wednesday in support of the project, saying it is exactly the type of plan the rural community needs.
"What they have to do is balance and find that fine line between economic development and growth, and maintaining a clean water supply and that's what his project allows," Gillibrand said.
Leaders of the project hope Senator Gillibrand will go to bat for them, as about half of the funding for the $2 million plan is still needed and the project is eligible for federal grants. Construction is anticipated to begin next spring.