Dundee sewage treatment cost increases

Gwen Chamberlain
The Dundee sewage treatment plant outflows at Big Stream, a Seneca Lake Tributary, and the cost to upgrade the facility to protect the water is increasing.

Upgrading the Dundee wastewater treatment plant is going to be more expensive than originally projected, but bids for a corresponding project to improve portions of the sanitary sewer system have come in lower than expected.

The village board agreed to move forward with plans to replace the aging plant with a new system that will incorporate filtration, dewatering, and composting at an estimated cost of nearly $11 million, roughly $3 million more than the originally anticipated cost of $8.2 million.

The village has secured $3.5 million in grant funds, so the final cost is anticipated to be $7.6 million, to be paid with a 30 year 0 interest loan with payments of $254,000 annually. 

The board had previously agreed to begin collecting an additional $15 per unit per quarter this year to start reserving funds for the eventual debt payments. That amount will be increased to $42 per quarter, then $69 per quarter and finally $96 per quarter to pay the debt. During discussion, Mayor Fred Cratsley Jr. acknowledged that an additional $400 per year does sound expensive for customers, but it is less than the cost of installing a new private septic system.

The State Department of Environmental Conservation has identified the need for filtration to protect Big Stream, a tributary to Seneca Lake. Big Stream below the Glenora waterfall is also a trout spawning area.

Cratsley also says Dundee’s aging system is one of the last in New York State to incorporate the application of liquid sludge to farm fields, and that sludge has exceeded DEC limits for copper.

The board’s action means engineering firm Barton & Loguidice can continue designing and planning the project. They will also continue to seek additional grant funds.

The board accepted a bid of $878,000 from Kenyon Pipeline for improvements to the village’s sanitary sewage system, replacing 50% of the village’s manholes and 25% of the village’s sewer lines. The project should begin in April and it must be done by Dec. 15.