Millbrook hears proposal to upgrade 50-year old wastewater plant

MILLBROOK — An engineering proposal to provide a critically needed upgrade for the village wastewater treatment plant was heard by the Village Trustees at a special meeting on Wednesday, April 24, at the Village Hall.

The Village Board is in the process of considering proposals submitted by qualified engineering firms.

Presenting a proposal on behalf of the engineering firm of Tighe and Bond of Rhinebeck, New York, were vice-president for operations Erin Moore and engineer Daemian Foster, with 31 years of experience in engineering wastewater solutions. Providing information about the existing plant was Scott Osborn, of VRI Environmental Services, the village’s water and wastewater operator.

Noting that the present wastewater treatment system is now 50 years old, the trustees noted that there is an opportunity for the town to upgrade the facility and make it resilient to serve the community into the future.

“We have a deep bench for wastewater engineering,” Moore said, noting that Tighe and Bond has a robust staff to support the process throughout the upgrade project, including support during complex grant funding procurement and management processes.

Engineer Daemian Foster spoke of the goal of eliminating current overflow problems at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

“We need the operations to continue uninterrupted,” said Village Mayor Tim Collopy of the project.

Osborn commented that the current plant operations use a lot of staff time to handle the present flow of 100,000 gallons daily, containing liquids and solids, and sometimes requiring hand-raking of solids that clog the system.

The first step in the Tighe and Bond process is to engage in design studies of the present system and the community’s needs.

Foster favored a “realistic approach trying to keep estimated costs down,” suggesting repurposing some existing tanks.

A site plan displayed by Foster showed an upgraded system, adding possible headworks defined as pre-treatment systems to include the capture of troublesome solids.

“The headworks would act to remove the solids, things that don’t belong in the stream, and then the system would treat the usual biological material,” Foster said.

“How you take care of the wastewater determines the degree of odor,” Foster added, addressing concerns about the presence of odor.

After the tank treatment is completed, Foster said, filtration occurs in steel tanks to be housed in a new building at the site.

Osborn said that the system proposed by Tighe and Bond is a flexible system with adjustable controls to allow manipulation of such elements as timing.

“You don’t need to do a new engineering plan. It would be possible to change the timing and addition of processing materials and chemicals,” Osborn explained about the proposed upgraded system.

“The system will function and function well,” Moore said, turning to cost analysis, and noting that the cost will be more than it would have been a few years ago. But, with the availability of infrastructure funding, “this is the moment to do it.”

Reviewing a detailed estimated cost projection for the board, Moore foresaw a possible construction cost total of over $7 million. When engineering, legal and contingency costs were added, the project total could run to more than $9 million. Grant funding programs would be expected to assist with much of the anticipated cost.

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