OSWEGO, NY – The Common Council will consider a resolution next week to hire an organization to help create a plan to upgrade the Eastside Wastewater Treatment Plant so it meets DEC requirements.
Mayor Billy Barlow requested council consideration of a pact regarding an Assessment Management Plan for the plant.
At Monday night’s Administrative Services Committee meeting, he asked the council for approval to hire an outside agency to assist the city in formulating the AMP.
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has developed a Municipal Sewage System Asset Management Guide to help communities in the long-term management of wastewater treatment facilities.
Barlow said he hopes this project will help repair the city’s relationship with the DEC.
“We’re doing our best to be as transparent as possible, forthcoming as possible and we want the DEC essentially to trust us,” he told the councilors.
It is important to be proactive so that the issues that have plagued to Port City’s failing infrastructure are addressed in a timely and well-planned manner, the mayor said.
Toward that end, the mayor has sought out the assistance of a specialist in sewer – wastewater treatment and program management with offices in Syracuse – CH2M.
“We’re going to need to invest some serious money into both wastewater treatment plants,” the mayor said. “We really want to do that strategically and wisely and responsibly. We need to know what we’re doing. It doesn’t make any sense to go in and start doing serious repairs to the wastewater plants without knowing what we’re dealing with.”
Sooner or later, the DEC would likely require the city to have an AMP, he added.
The cost of such a plan is estimated to be about $160,000 and will be tailored to meet the requirements of the DEC’s Municipal Sewage System Asset Management, the mayor explained.
“I think it’s in our best interest as a city to have a document that we can follow, have information to help us make decisions when we’re preparing to throw serious money into wastewater plants where it’s really needed,” he said.
The goal is to evaluate the city’s Eastside Wastewater Treatment Plant through an AMP that meets the minimum requirements of New York State DEC.
The plan will include work that needs to be done and a long-range funding strategy.
The mayor believes that the DEC will appreciate that Oswego is taking this step, “showing that we’re serious about the environment, showing that we’re serious about upgrading our facilities and showing that we understand that the city has made some mistakes in the past, over the course of 20-25 years, and we’re not interested in continuing that same record.”
CH2M has a good reputation when it comes to dealing with the DEC, the mayor noted.
If you’re going to make an investment in your wastewater treatment plant, having a plan of how you’re going to do that is a wise thing to do, a CH2M representative told the councilors.
Wile this is work that needs to be done, the mayor said he’d much rather be able to spend the money on things like improving the city’s roads.
“But, you can’t blame the DEC for some of the issues and concerns that they have with the city. We’re talking over two decades of complete noncompliance on the city’s part,” Barlow said. “We’re working on that reputation. It’s been my main goal since January first. We’re making gains; this will show we’re being proactive and taking issues seriously.”
Experts will be brought in by CH2M to help Oswego facilitate its plan They will look at the physical assets as well as the plant’s organizational structure and work closely with the staff and operators at the site.
The target to get the plan together is 80 days with another 10 days for any comments and feedback before it is finalized.
This will be a budget amendment in the Eastside Wastewater Treatment Plant budget line.
The request was sent to the full council for consideration at its May 23 meeting.