Dundee may need new wastewater treatment plant

Gwen Chamberlain
The Dundee Village wastewater treatment plant is located on Saunders Street, next to Big Stream, a tributary to Seneca Lake.

Village officials in Dundee have approved an agreement with an engineering firm to begin work on the development of a new sewage treatment plant that is likely to cost about $6.5 million. Nearly half of the plant’s cost could be covered by grants, and the balance could be financed with a zero interest loan.

Mayor Fred Cratsley Jr. and the village board discussed the status of the existing plant, which was inspected by the Department of Environmental Conservation in September.

After that inspection, Cratsley received a letter telling him the plan was in marginal compliance with the state pollution discharge requirements.

The Dundee plant is located on Saunders Street, near Big Stream, a tributary to Seneca Lake. In the past, it has been considered to contribute to higher levels of nutrients in the lake.

According to the letter received by Cratsley, outstanding issues at the treatment plant include ammonia violations, infiltration of storm and other water which changes the balance of the system. There is also a significant amount of corrosion, and concrete deterioration.

The inspection form notes that storm and groundwater inflow and infiltration caused a sewer overflow.

The infiltration, much of it the result of old manholes throughout the village, should be addressed, according to the letter.

Cratsley says new regulations from the state DEC will call for upgrades to the system.

DEC officials are reviewing the engineering plan for a new plant, and are expected to have comments and information about possible funding soon.

A new plant will be computerized and will have a larger capacity than the current plant, says Cratsley.

The village’s flow metering calibration is overdue, according to the inspection report, which also noted the sludge storage tanks are approaching the end of their design life.

The plant also needs a certified assistant operator and a plan for succession for the chief operator.

The village board also discussed the need for a new streets department building. Cratsley says while construction of a new building could cost roughly $300,000, the village could save money by purchasing a modular building which could cost about $200,000.