Fulton Tries for Delay in Pollution Plant Upgrade, but State Says No

Fulton lawmakers pushed ahead Tuesday with plans to renovate the city’s water pollution control plant, after state officials told the city that it could not delay taking action.

The city is under order from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to upgrade its water pollution plant on the city’s north side. The state set a deadline of October 11 for the city to complete engineering studies for the plant’s improvement or face fines of $10,000 a day.

Mayor Ron Woodward said that when Birds-Eye announced it will close its Fulton plant later this year, he asked the state if it could delay the initial phase of the project for up to three years to see if the city could find a replacement for the factory, which provides 75% of the industrial user fees paid to the city.

He said in a letter to the DEC that a three year delay would allow the city to pay off other bonds and avoid having to triple industrial user fees or borrow more money to prevent the increase in industrial rates.

Woodward said the DEC still wants the city to complete the engineering study on time. After that, the DEC would discuss with the city whether a delay in construction was necessary.

Lawmakers approved borrowing up to $3.5 million for the project and approved hiring GHD Consulting Engineers of Cazenovia to prepare the engineering plan and take part in the eventual project at a cost of $248,500.

Despite the delay, “they’ll be able to get the design work done” by the DEC’s deadline, Woodward said.