By Briana Brownsell
On Dec. 12, the Town of Inlet finally received a grant that they had applied for in the spring. The grant is to complete an engineering report to evaluate the construction of a public sewer collection system and sludge handling facility which will serve Old Forge and Inlet.
The grant awarded was worth a total of $12,000 and was necessary because town budgets were too tight to fully fund the study.
The Town of Inlet Supervisor John Frey said, “The grant received is for an engineering study to determine the feasibility of adding a de-watering press locally that could serve both Inlet and Old Forge. We want to work with Old Forge by sharing engineering and eventually construction costs so that neither town has to re-invent the wheel and waste taxpayers dollars. The opportunity for both towns to have a savings for their sewer district, and moving forward is the end goal.
A de-watering press will reduce the volume of sludge hauled dramatically, and will end up paying for the construction cost in a short time frame.”
The timing was best for Inlet to apply for the grant because Inlet’s wastewater treatment plant is new. Webb is looking to do upgrades. The Old Forge plant has actually had a sludge press for years, however it isn’t currently operational.
This revised process in managing the sludge is needed because the town has no way to deal with the solid waste, or sludge once it is filtered out of the sewage. At the moment the sludge is pumped or trucked to Rome or Watertown, to be treated. The current cost to haul the sludge away is $0.19 per gallon. The sludge is hauled three to four times a year, which adds up to about $4,000 a year.
To learn more about this new way to deal with sludge, both Inlet’s and Old Forge’s Town supervisors, and both of the Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators went to see another plant, with the new sludge press technology; built by the engineers that built Inlet’s plant, Bernier, Carr, and Associates.
The study is estimated to take six months. As long as the study proves that there will be savings for the taxpayers; then the next step is for the town to apply for another grant to build it.
The new equipment will take up less space, and offer cost savings in the future.