Project To Upgrade Oswego’s Water Treatment Plant Moves Ahead

OSWEGO, NY – Oswego councilors heard an update Monday on a project that will increase the efficiency of the Water Department.

Prior to the start of committee meetings, councilors heard a presentation by the City Water Department and Wendel Energy Services regarding the Efficiency Study and Performance Contract.

“The purpose of this is to give you an update on the efficiency study and performance contract,” said Brian Folgherait, plant manager of the Water Department. “It’s about 80 percent done at this point.”

The Water Treatment Plant is in need of upgrades to improve energy efficiency and water production capacity, and reduce operational and maintenance costs, he said.

He has contracted with NYSERDA and Wendel Energy Services to conduct the study.

Based on the results of the NYSERDA Study, the city of Oswego may issue a request for qualifications from energy services companies for an energy performance contract to design and implement selected upgrades.

At this time, the Water Department’s primary need is to increase the through put capacity of the plant.

“Currently, the bottleneck in the plant is the filtering process due to the lost efficiencies of the 40-year-old under drain design and media system,” Folgherait told the councilors. “It’s highly inefficient.”

Due to new water contracts, increased sales, unmetered customers and the desire for new industries, the water plant is approaching capacity, Folgherait said.

According to Joseph DeFazio and Brian Sibiga of Wendel many parts of the plant are out-dated.

The filters are at the end of their useful life as they are more than 40 years old, they said.

The city has done a good job of maintaining its equipment for so long; but now it’s a case of the performance dropping off because it is so old.

Upgrades to the filter system will cost around $2,075,000 and upgrades for the tube settler $800,000 and site lighting upgrades $25,000.

Savings realized by the upgrades will pay for the cost of the project in a few years, according to the Wendel reps.

The city can pay for the estimated $2.9 million project with a 15-year municipal lease and wind up with a positive annual cashflow of $30,155 and a 20-year cumulative cashflow of $1.56 million or use a 20-year bond with a positive annual cashflow of $44,101 and a 20-year cumulative cashflow of $1.51 million, they explained.

Under either plan, the city will realize an increased annual water revenue of $219,500, an energy savings of $10,275 and an annual chemical savings of $5,380.

They would like to get at least one filter done by May, Folgherait said.

The entire project is likely to take six months or so to complete.

Council President Ron Kaplewicz said the council will confer with the city chamberlain to determine which way to proceed, lease or bond.

Councilor Fran Enwright inquired whether the Wendel reps would be looking at seeking grant funding to help defray the costs. That would be an avenue they would explore, they replied.