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Schuyler County Green Infrastructure Strategy

Sustainable Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure: Engineering Concept Report

October 22, 2010 REVISED December 21, 2010

This report was developed with assistance from Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED); Cornell Cooperative Extension, Schuyler County; Schuyler County Soil & Water Conservation District; and Schuyler County Watershed. Technical assistance also provided by Natural Systems Utilities and John Todd Ecological Design, Inc. Funding for this project was provided by Appalachian Regional Commission, Schuyler County and SCOPED.


Executive Summary

Schuyler County is a vibrant community of small towns and villages supported by a burgeoning agricultural, winery and tourist industry. Opportunities for further economic development rely on the expansion of wastewater infrastructure. As part of wider sustainability objectives Alliance Environmental, LLC (AE) was retained to explore the potential to meet wastewater treatment needs with innovative ecological solutions such as natural systems. It was found that current wastewater capacity is substandard for supporting future growth. The Villages of Odessa and Burdett, and parts of the Village of Montour Falls, suffer problems with failing septic systems. The Watkins Glen wastewater treatment plant is forced to capacity during race days at the Watkins Glen International Speedway. The wastewater treatment plant at Montour Falls is susceptible to inflow and infiltration during wet weather events which cause overflow. To properly understand the needs of the community, research has included a review of previous studies into Schuyler County sewer services, an appraisal of the current situation via site visits, and the outcomes of an interactive public workshop where community members expressed their priorities regarding the service that wastewater infrastructure would provide to the community. This report builds on work completed in previous wastewater and water planning documents and offers a range of solutions from which a more specific concept proposal could be developed. Research conducted by AE indicates that one such concept would use a network of constructed wetlands with discharge to Catharine Creek or subsurface, depending on location. The viability of discharge options would require further onsite investigation and mediation with State regulators once a concept is chosen. The proposed decentralized network of natural systems for Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, Odessa, Burdett, the un-serviced regions of Montour Falls and Irelandville Landfill has an estimated capital requirement of $26 million ±30%, which can be invested in phases, and will provide 1,056,000 gpd of wastewater treatment capacity to the region. Considering capital and operational expense, the 50year cost of life-cycle and carbon footprint for the network have been estimated as $46 million ±30% and 6,200 T CO2. This represents a savings on expenditure of 26% and a savings on CO2 emissions of 82% in comparison to an alternative centralized activated sludge system. We believe that further opportunities for sustainable wastewater infrastructure in the community include wastewater solids management, winery wastewater management and stormwater management. These opportunities require further investigation in conjunction with SCOPED, but they could be developed in tandem with the proposed municipal wastewater network.


Table of Contents

Section 1.0 Section 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 3.1 3.2 3.3 4.1 4.2 4.3 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 5.10 6.0 Section 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 4 Background .................................................................................................................................................... 5

Water Consumption and Wastewater Production in Schuyler County .................................................................. 6 Current Wastewater Treatment Situation ............................................................................................................ 10 Previous recommendations .................................................................................................................................. 16 Community Wastewater Treatment Alternatives ........................................................................................ 19 SWOT Analysis ...................................................................................................................................................... 19 Decision Tool Exercise Summary .......................................................................................................................... 24 Community Wastewater Treatment Alternatives ................................................................................................ 25 Feasibility of Alternatives ............................................................................................................................. 26 Possible Ecological Wastewater Approaches for Schuyler County ....................................................................... 27 Suitability of proposed geographical locations ..................................................................................................... 28 Classes of Available Wastewater Technology ....................................................................................................... 31 Natural Wastewater Infrastructure Concepts .............................................................................................. 34 Large Treatment Wetland Plant at Watkins Glen with Subsurface Discharge ..................................................... 35 Separate Treatment Wetland Plants at Watkins Glen and Montour Falls with Discharge to Natural Wetland ... 36 Watkins Glen International ................................................................................................................................... 37 The Village of Burdett ........................................................................................................................................... 38 The Village of Odessa ............................................................................................................................................ 38 Havana Glen Trailer Park and surrounding area .................................................................................................. 38 Wastewater Solids Management.......................................................................................................................... 39 Irelandville Landfill Leachate ................................................................................................................................ 39 Stormwater management ..................................................................................................................................... 39 Winery wastewater management ....................................................................................................................... 39 Cost of decentralized natural systems network................................................................................................... 40 Funding, Implementation and Operations .................................................................................................. 44 Governmental - Municipal/County ....................................................................................................................... 46 Quasi-Governmental ­ Authority, Special District, Public Nonprofit .................................................................... 46 Private Nonprofit Cooperative or Association ..................................................................................................... 46 Private For-Profit Utility ­ Transportation Corporation ........................................................................................ 47 Funding Opportunities .......................................................................................................................................... 48 Conclusions ................................................................................................................................................. 48

Section 3.0

Section 4.0

Section 5.0

Section 8.0


Section 1.0


Schuyler County has a population of approximately 19,000 i across an area 219,000 acres. The county is composed of small town communities including four villages which are the subject of this study (approximate 2009 populations in brackets): Burdett (331), Montour Falls (1,747), Odessa (575) and Watkins Glen (1,989). Major economic drivers in the area include (with recent $USD cash sales in brackets) agriculture ($35.4 million, 2008), tourism ($26.4 million, 2008) and wine production ($11.9 million, 2003). This contribution is provided by approximately 400 farms totaling approximately 98,000 acres in agriculture (64,000 acres currently farmed with the remainder in forest lands), and 22 wineries in Schuyler County. Other economic influences in the County include two large-scale salt processing plants (US Salt and Cargill) and lumber processing (Wagner Lumber). Through a Comprehensive Plan, Schuyler County has identified that community sustainability and economic development in the region must focus on the area's unique assets. With a solid tourism base, several well-established industries and a spectacular environment, economic development in Schuyler County can break away from the traditional "business retention and expansion" models and embrace flexible, creative and sustainable programs ii. Development of eco-tourism and agri-tourism markets has been identified as a way of protecting agricultural lands and maintaining the unique character of these small communities. However, the existing infrastructure, such as wastewater, must be upgraded and expanded to support desired economic development. The limitations imposed by present wastewater infrastructure include: · · · An under-sized wastewater treatment plant at Montour Falls which has reported compliance issues Aged infrastructure in the villages of Odessa and Burdett, creating groundwater contamination issues and limiting opportunity for growth Recent expansions of the service to Watkins Glen International Speedway (WGI), provided by the Watkins Glen WWTP, combined with Inflow and Infiltration issues occasionally causes exceedance of permitted daily flow-rates There are no longer any local facilities for septage or bio-solids disposal, or winery wastewater disposal. The costs of haulage and regulated disposal may adversely impact future development of select business sectors


An improved solution must enable short-term development while ensuring long-term resource protection of the natural resources that are instrumental to Schuyler County's development plans. Resultantly, the Schuyler County Green Infrastructure Strategy seeks innovative, ecological solutions to existing infrastructure problems, which align with wider sustainability objectives.


The scope of this report is to recommend a program to implement sustainable wastewater infrastructure. A Green Infrastructure Strategy must consider all dimensions of sustainability: social, economic and environmental. Therefore, the proposed solution must support the health and livelihoods of the community, be affordable, and minimize the carbon footprint associated with operation. The developed program will consider: · Improvements to existing infrastructure at Burdett, Odessa, Montour Falls and Watkins Glen. · Strategies to add capacity to accommodate expansion plans for community size, tourism industry, associated industrial wastewater production from wineries · Wastewater solids management within the region to improve the affordability of disposal for septage, treatment plant sludge and winery bio-solids · Opportunities to integrate with or benefit the agricultural and salt processing industries This study will be completed in several sections. In Section 2 we analyze existing infrastructure and consider previous recommendations for improvement. In Section 3 we report on the findings of a community stakeholder public workshop, which is used to develop an alternative solution to best fit the needs of the community. In Section 4 we consider the appropriateness of various wastewater treatment technologies for the community, goals of the study, and potential locations for construction. This will be done by considering technologies with regard to: a. Land availability and value for other uses of suggested sites b. Capital Expenditure and Operational Expenditure (cost of life cycle) c. County/state discharge restriction for ground and surface waters d. Ability to meet compliance, and environmental protection goals beyond compliance e. Potential for water reuse f. Potential for nutrient and energy capture g. The carbon footprint associated with operation h. Suitability of soil geology, topography at suggested sites In Section 5 we propose several conceptual scenarios which would be most appropriate, and offer different benefits to each community, and discuss the costs of these strategies in more detail. In Section 6 we discuss funding mechanisms to implement the proposed solutions.

Section 2.0


The first part of this Section will develop a water balance for the region based on current and projected activities throughout the County. This will include wine and tourist industry contributions. Secondly, scrutiny will be given to existing wastewater facilities for each town and for the management of wastewater solids and winery wastewater. Discussion will include current permit requirements and how these support environmental preservation goals, and barriers to growth. Thirdly, the pros and cons of previous suggestions for wastewater infrastructure will be considered,


including cost and energy requirements. Previously suggested conventional solutions will inform a baseline case and will allow for benchmarking against alternative solutions.


Water Consumption and Wastewater Production in Schuyler County

The following passage is adapted from Hicks (2010) iii. Of the four incorporated villages in Schuyler County, only two have public sewer systems. Public sewer is available for the Village of Montour Falls and the Village of Watkins Glen. An extension of the Watkins Glen district encompasses a small section of the Town of Reading (directly along the Seneca Lake shoreline approximately one (1) mile heading northwest out of the village), and southwest into the Town of Dix another three (3) miles to service Watkins Glen International, the Schuyler County Business Park and the 69 single-family homes in Dix. The remaining portion of the county, about 75% of residents or 7,359 households, rely on onsite wastewater treatment systems (WTS or septic systems) for disposal and treatment of their residential wastewater. Wineries are not serviced by public sewers and either have onsite wastewater treatment facilities or haul winery wastewater off-site for treatment. All four villages, as well as large areas in the Town of Hector, have public water available. However, public water is only available to less than half of county residents, leaving about 6,323 households with individual water supplies (IWS). Wineries generally obtain water via private wells, and the salt industry draws water directly from Seneca Lake. Regarding the water balance for Schuyler County; weather records indicate that an average of 2.9 inches of precipitation per month (0.1 inches per day) falls on the Watkins Glen region, with a standard deviation of approximately 0.6 inches per month. Approximately 98% of the county is undeveloped, which means that approximately 79,661,250 gpd recharge groundwater and surface water supplies. Table 1 indicates residential water demands in the region using information adapted from the Hunt Engineers Infrastructure Development report published in 2003. From Table 1 it can be seen that the average total residential water demand for the region in 2003 was 2.01 mgd, which also includes information for the larger towns in Schuyler County who obtain water via private wells. The population of Schuyler County is expected to contract by 0.9% over the period 2009-2014 iv. Assuming a similar contraction rate until 2030 it is calculated that average daily demand in the region will decrease to 1.99 mgd. These projections do not account for any additional demands created by expansion of tourism and winery operation. Current water production capacity for the region is believed to be on the order of 7 mgd, which would be sufficient for peak demand with an additional buffer of 0.87 mgd to support expansion of the tourist sector if needed. Winery water demands are based on a water footprint for wine production of 3:1 v, vi and 36 wineries on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail producing 750,000 gpy vii, adjusted for 22 wineries in Schuyler County.


Total daily water demand from the winery industry is expected to be in the region of 7,640 gpd, occurring across a six-month season of pressing and retail. Based on a projected economic sector growth which accommodates one new average winery every 2 years, it is expected that winery demand will increase to 11,100 gpd by 2030. Table 1 ­ Current and projected residential water consumption in Schuyler County Burdett Montour Odessa Watkins Wider (Hector) Falls Glen Town Areas Population PE 331 1,747 575 1,989 14,250 Average Demand gpd 31,000 206,000 96,000 315,000 1,425,000 Peak Day Demand gpd 62,000 434,000 172,800 1,120,000 2,850,000 Population PE 318 1,678 552 1,911 13,691 Average Demand gpd 29,783 197,915 92,232 302,637 1,369,070 Peak Day Demand gpd 59,567 416,966 166,018 1,076,041 2,738,140 Supply Source Hector 2 Wells 2 Wells Lake Own well Maximum capacity gpd 316,000 600,000 338,000 1,330,000 2,738,140 Storage gpd 250,000 1,000,000 400,000 986,000 Fire Protection Volume gpd 207,900 469,000 270,000 316,400 -

Total 18,892 2,073,000 4,638,800 18,151 1,991,637 4,456,732 5,322,140 2,636,000 1,263,300

Demand 2003i Demand 2030ii Capacity 2009i

References: i. ii.

Based on data given in Schuyler County Water/Wastewater Infrastructure Development Evaluation for Business and Economic Development, 2003, Hunt Engineers, Architects and Land Surveyors PC Based on population growth rate of -0.2% year on year between the years 2009-2014, as published in Cornell Cooperative Extension Office, Schuyler County, NY, 2009, The Schuyler County Housing Needs Assessment

Eco-tourism and agri-tourism in the region may also create a water demand additional to residential requirements. To illustrate the potential demand created during tourist season: it is assumed that the number of tourists using Schuyler County as a base is proportional to the number of Seneca Lake wineries located in Schuyler County (approx. 40%). The number of visitors to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail in 2003 was 1,294,000. If 1/3rd of the visitors stay in the area for an average of 2 days and contribute to wastewater production equivalent to domestic flows, then an additional water demand of approximately 286,000 gpd could be created; which is equivalent to an additional large village. By the same assumptions, if the tourism numbers increase at historic rates then by 2030 the additional water demand created by tourists may be as high as 570,000 gpd during peak season. If tourists mainly impose water demand at wineries and boutique farms then it is possible that on-site wells could be expanded to cope with increased demand. If hotel, dining and leisure facilities expand in the Villages as a result of increasing tourism then increased demand on Village water supply will need considering. The exact water demands of the salt industry are unclear, although it is expected that they comprise a major demand on water resources withdrawn directly from Seneca Lake. Furthermore, a recent study


by Schuyler County Water Quality Coordinating Committee reported elevated levels of sodium in Seneca Lake which may derive from salt mining operations viii. Hence, there is impetus to relocate Salt works wastewater treatment and discharge facilities off the Seneca Lake shore-line. Using some of the previous calculations, Table 2 details wastewater production calculations for the four incorporated villages in Schuyler County and estimated seasonal contributions from the winery, racing and tourism industries. Two sets of figures are given based on calculations of the current situation in 2009, and projections of the water balance for 2030 based on proposed economic development plans. As of 2009, it is estimated that on a peak day (race day plus eco-tourism and agritourism season) the wastewater treatment capacity required is on the order of 1 million gallons per day (mgd). It is estimated that the required capacity will increase by 25% due to a doubling in the number of visitors to the area with an associated increase in the number of wineries over the next 20 years. Regarding stormwater flows in the separate sewer systems and combined stormwater sewers of Montour Falls and Watkins Glen: it is known that about 3,000 acres of Schuyler County is developed. ix Assuming that the four incorporated villages comprise 50% of the total developed area, and using a run-off coefficient of 0.75, an additional average stormwater flow-rate of 409,210 gpd can be estimated.


Table 2 ­ Wastewater production for the four incorporated villages of Schuyler County and the winery, racing and eco-tourism industries Burdett Montour Odessa Watkins Winery* WGI* Tourism* Salt Peak Falls Glen Mftr Capacity Required Current 2009 Population Hydraulic Loading Rate BOD loading rate TSS loading rate TN loading rate TP loading rate PE Hydraulic Loading Rate BOD loading rate TSS loading rate TN loading rate TP loading rate PE gpd kg/d kg/d kg/d kg/d PE gpd kg/d kg/d kg/d kg/d 331 33,100 20.92 23.40 3.71 0.89 318 31,801 20.10 22.48 3.56 0.86 1,747 174,700 110.41 123.51 19.57 4.72 1,678 167,843 106.08 118.67 18.80 4.53 575 57,500 36.34 40.65 6.44 1.55 552 55,243 34.91 39.06 6.19 1.49 1,989 198,900 125.70 140.62 22.28 5.37 1,911 191,093 120.77 135.10 21.40 5.16 22 7,639 72.28 37.59 2.17 0.29 32 11,111 105.14 54.67 3.15 0.42 21,950 299,983 439.00 658.50 197.55 43.90 21,950 299,983 439.00 658.50 197.55 43.90 2,856 285,560 180.47 201.89 31.98 7.71 5,711 571,120 360.95 403.78 63.97 15.42 TBC 29,470 1,057,382 985 1,226 284 64 32,153 1,328,195 1,187 1,432 315 72

Projected 2030


* Daily loading rates for these sectors are seasonal

Assumptions: · Single person wastewater loadings and constituents are as per US EPA (2002). · Winery wastewater concentrations are as per Masi (2002) · Storm-water component of combined wastewater flow is not included in these calculations · Population growth projection is based on 0.2% contraction year on year · Winery wastewater flows are based on waste: product volume of 3:1 (water: wine) and 36 wineries on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail producing 750,000 gpy, adjusted for 22 wineries in Schuyler County. It is assumed winery wastewater production is spread across six months. · Increase in winery numbers is based on average 1 new winery every 2 years over the past 10 years. · WGI is Watkins Glen International Speedway, which reportedly produces 440,000 gpd of wastewater on race days but limits this to maximum 300,000 gpd discharge. It is assumed that WGI wastewater is one third the strength of residential wastewater · Tourism is based on 1,294,000 visitors to Seneca Lake Wine Trail in 2003. As approximately 40% of wine trail wineries are in Schuyler County, the number of total tourists is apportioned. It is assumed 1/3rd stay in the area and contribute to wastewater production at hotels and restaurants, equivalent to domestic flows. Average visitor stay is taken as 2 days · Increase in tourism is based on roughly linear increase of 70,000 tourists per year over the past 18 years.

· It is understood that salt processing plants may treat their own wastewater. More information would be required for design purposes 9


Current Wastewater Treatment Situation

This section will summarize the existing facilities in each sector and discuss their current ability to deal with current wastewater requirements and limitations with regard to accommodating projected growth.

2.2.1 Village of Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen with approximately 2,000 residents is located on the southern shore of Seneca Lake and surrounded by the Town of Dix. The Village has experienced a decrease in population over the past 20 years, yet it remains a draw for visitors who travel to local attractions in the area, such as the races at the Watkins Glen International Speedway. Watkins Glen's wastewater treatment facility was constructed in 1962 and is on the Southern shore of Seneca Lake (occupying prime lake-front property). The existing wastewater treatment plant is located on two parcels (65.09-2-38.2 and 65.09-2-39.1) that together make up 1.25 acres. The plant services the Village of Watkins Glen and portions of the Town of Reading, including the Salt Point Road area. Only a dozen or so properties in Watkins Glen are not serviced by the public sewer. Recent construction activities extended service to the undeveloped Schuyler County Business Park and the Watkins Glen International Speedway in the Town of Dix, with additional service to 69 single-family homes. The plant uses an activated sludge treatment process and is constructed to produce secondary level treated effluent. The existing WWTP has a current capacity of 0.7 mgd, in line with permit. Permitted effluent limits are as follows: Flow (30-day avge) 0.7 mgd TSS (7-day avge) 45 mg/l TSS (30-day avge) 30 mg/l TSS Removal 85% min BOD (7-day avge) 45 mg/l BOD (30-day avge) 30 mg/l BOD Removal 85% min UOD 85 mg/l Concerns have been raised over the facility's location on prime real estate on the lake shore, particularly with neighbors such as the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, marina and the municipal beach. The land on which the WWTP is presently situated has been assessed in 2010 at a value of $1,150,000. x Odor has been an issue in the past that has resulted in a moratorium on


accepting any septage loads at the plant. Since the inception of the moratorium in 2008 few odor complaints have occurred. Regarding the impact of WGI, Figure 1 details August daily flow rates from 2007-2010 for the Village of Watkins Glen Wastewater Treatment Plant. By correlating against race-days at WGI, it can be seen that the August baseline flow-rate is approximately 0.344 mgd, and WGI creates an additional load of approximately 0.272 mgd. Wastewater production at WGI is reportedly on the order of 0.443 mgd, which suggests that the Equalization Tank that buffers the sewer connection from WGI has capacity of approximately 0.17 mg. Flow is diverted to the EQ tank when the sewer discharge from WGI exceeds 200 gpm. Although the average race-day load is within the 0.7 mgd permit there have been instances where permit has been exceed, such as 9th August 2008 (0.741 mgd) and 22nd August 2010 (1.014 mgd). Additional flow information for August 2010 is included in Figure 2, which illustrates that instantaneous maximum flows on race-day weekends frequently exceed 0.7 mgd equivalent, and thus were in excess of plant capacity.

2.2.2 Village of Montour Falls

The Village of Montour Falls is located within the Town of Montour and consists of approximately 1,750 residents. Like Watkins Glen, Montour Falls has numerous aesthetic qualities that make it a destination point for travelers and sight-seeing. However, lack of adequate wastewater collection and treatment impinges on its ability to enhance those features and grow.


Figure 1

Average daily flow rate (mgd) through Village of Watkins Glen Wastewater Treatment Plant during the month of August from 2007-2010. This clearly shows the increased load created by WGI during racing weekends. Data kindly provided by D.Burt

Figure 2

Peak, Average and Minimum daily flow rate (mgd) through Village of Watkins Glen Wastewater Treatment Plant during the month of August 2010. This clearly shows that plant capacity is regularly exceeded by instantaneous peak flow on race day weekends. Data kindly provided by D.Burt

The Montour Falls wastewater treatment plant is located at the northerly end of the village and discharges to Catharine Creek. The treatment facility was built in 1962 and is located on three small parcels (76.19-2-5, 76.19-2-83, and 76.19-2-6) totaling approximately 7.1 acres with land assessed at $41,400. The sewer system comprises four (4) village pump systems and a pipe network that was largely upgraded from vitrified clay to PVC and HDPE in 2001. The treatment train includes a Fixed Activated Sludge Treatment (FAST) system (Smith and Loveless, Inc.) and a tricking filter. The treatment plant is designed to produce secondary level effluent quality. Since 1969 it has been evident that the FAST system becomes hydraulically loaded in wet weather events due to excessive inflow and infiltration, and overtops onto the trickling filter. A 2003 study into Schuyler County wastewater infrastructure xi calculated that this occurs at combined flow rates above 0.49 mgd. Permitted effluent limits are as follows: Flow (30-day avge) 0.31 mgd


TSS (7-day avge) TSS (30-day avge) TSS Removal BOD (7-day avge) BOD (30-day avge) BOD Removal UOD

45 mg/l 30 mg/l 85% min 40 mg/l 25 mg/l 85% min 135 mg/l

The plant capacity is 0.31 mgd in line with permit and typical flows are in the range of 0.25 mgd. Although the system has consistently met TSS removal requirements, on three separate occasions between the monitoring period of 2002-2003 BOD has exceeded the permitted concentration. Several areas of Montour Falls are not serviced by the treatment plant, including the Havana Glen Trailer Park, L'Hommedieu St, Genesee St, Raymond St and the former slaughterhouse at Seneca St. Instead, properties in these locations have onsite wastewater treatment and discharge arrangements.

2.2.3 Village of Burdett

Burdett is a small community with a population of about 300 people. The village is located to the east of Seneca Lake about 2 miles north of Watkins Glen. Residents and local officials take pride in the small community and while there is the desire for the town to flourish, there is also a desire to maintain small town appeal. The town is partnering with the Village of Odessa to engage in a planning process that will provide strategies to enhance the downtown area; including consideration of wastewater infrastructure. Currently, all of the lots in Burdett are serviced by public potable water supply in combination with individual on-site septic systems for wastewater service. There have been reported water quality issues due to poorly maintained systems in the Village and in the surrounding community. The 2007 Schuyler County Water Resources Strategy xii raised concerns regarding pollution to the Hector Creek aquifer due to the number of failed individual septic systems, agriculture, stream instability and an abandoned landfill. Septic system failure in portions of the village has been attributed to a seasonal high groundwater table. The immediate risk to the water supply of Burdett is low due to public water supply from the Town of Hector, which detracts from the necessity to remedy the problem of failing septic systems.


2.2.4 Village of Odessa

The Village of Odessa is located southeast of Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake and has a population of about 600 people. Wastewater treatment is by individual onsite septic systems. Like Burdett, Odessa has reported the failure of many individual septic systems. In the Village, the commercial areas are relatively small therefore there is little room to make improvements to systems where they may be failing. In 2003 the lack of adequate wastewater infrastructure was directly blamed for stifling local business growth, and an improved Wastewater Treatment System was made one of the top priorities for regional development xiii.

2.2.5 Wineries, agriculture and related tourism

According to the 2008 Agricultural Report xiv: including economic multiplier factors, it is estimated the combined contribution of wineries, silviculture, and agriculture to the economy of Schuyler County is on the order of $100 million per year. As of 2008 there were approximately 400 farms and 22 wineries in Schuyler County. Small agricultural businesses have always been an important part of the fabric of Schuyler County, and a burgeoning tourism industry has created the opportunity to generate additional value and expand these traditional sectors; thus ensuring their protection. Both sectors have seen impressive growth over the past 10 years, and it is hoped that this growth will continue. However, concern has been expressed that lack of wastewater services to wineries could hamper this development. The level of wastewater treatment at different wineries is inconsistent, as can be expressed through a few case studies: 1. Lakewood Winery produces about 80,000 gpy of wines and juices. During operations (6 month period encompassing pressing and retail) they use approximately 800 gpd of water for pressing and retail related uses. Wastewater is treated using a Septic tank (about 1,500 gal tank) and leachfield on site. Additionally, 500 gal of wastewater is spread over about 1/8 acre of land to cut down on fertilizer use. The only costs incurred are for septic tank emptying. 2. Damiani Winery produces about 10,000 gpy of wine and about 20,000 gpy of wastewater which is collected and hauled to Auburn, NY for disposal (approximately 60 miles away). Total disposal costs are approximately $4,000 per year. The winery expresses that they would like to find an alternative way of treating and disposing of waste as current haulage expenses are limiting development.

2.2.6 Diffuse population in the larger Towns


All Schuyler County properties outside of the four incorporated villages are served by individual wastewater treatment systems, which generally incorporate septic tank and disposal field. This represents approximately 75% of the County population or 7,475 properties. A report published by the Schuyler County Watershed Protection Agency (WPA) summarized results from investigations conducted into the reliability of individual wastewater treatment systems in the region. A total of 163 evaluations were conducted between 2008 and 2009, and of these a total of 13 systems required a complete replacement. Based on a failure rate of 8%, WPA estimated that 598 individual systems in Schuyler County may be failing xv. This large number of failing systems may have implications for environmental pollution and human health risks.

2.2.7 Wastewater solids, septage and leachate management

At one time, the Watkins Glen Treatment Plant had been accepting septage from commercial establishments in the town. Due to odor concerns from commercial neighbors at the lakefront, Watkins Glen WWTP no longer accepts septage from the households and businesses that rely on onsite septic systems, increasing the cost of septic management for those entities. There are currently three registered septage pumping and hauling companies in Schuyler County. Septage is driven to one of four land application sites: two in Tyrone (Hallock Road, Dean Lane); two in Hector (Newtown Rd, County Rd. 4). The permitted application rate is 25,000 gallons of septage per acre per year, beyond which excess septage is hauled out of the county. Agricultural and winery organic solids wastes such as grape residues and slurries are high strength and need careful land application. Where this is not permitted, alternative methods of disposal are required. A further consideration is the landfill leachate collected from the Irelandville (Reading Center) landfill site. Currently leachate is disposed of in either Ithaca, NY or Geneva, NY (both approximately 32 miles away) and the current cost for haulage per year is $80,000. A previous study by Todd Ecological Inc. xvi investigated potential solutions for onsite treatment of landfill leachate, by using natural systems. The proposed two-stage system included an aerated lagoon fitted with patented Restorer® technology, and a subsurface flow constructed wetland. The treated effluent would be discharged to a tributary of Seneca Lake which would preclude the need for collection and haulage. The estimated capital expenditure for this system was on the order of $250,000 with an associated operating cost of $2,500 per year, which would yield a Payback Time of approximately 3.3 years. The proposed system was not developed.



Previous recommendations

Many of the problems discussed in Section 2.2 are not recent. Several previous reports on Schuyler County wastewater infrastructure have been performed and it is useful to review the recommendations made when considering possible solutions. Table 3 summarizes the findings of these reports. Generally speaking the following common recommendations have been made: 1. Solution: Move the Watkins Glen WWTP to a location south of the confluence between Glen Creek and the Canal and expand for service to Montour Falls/Odessa/Burdett. Problems Solved: Frees up valuable lake front real estate, simultaneously solves hydraulic overloading issues at Montour Falls (due to storm flow) and Watkins Glen (due to raceway), and removes the dependence of Burdett and Odessa on failing septic systems. 2. Solution: Construct conventional wastewater treatment systems for Odessa and Burdett Problem Solved: Removes the dependence of Burdett and Odessa on failing septic system. The Burdett system would require tertiary UV disinfection for discharge to Tug Hollow Creek, and similar for the Odessa system if discharging to Catlin Creek.


Table 3 ­ A summary of recommendations made from previous reports on potential improvements to Schuyler Counter Wastewater Infrastructure

Year 1969 Report Title Schuyler County Comprehensive Sewer Study. Barton, Brown, Clyde and Loguidice Major Findings Seven years after construction, Watkins Glen WWTP is hydraulically overloaded due to wet weather excess infiltration and illegal connections Suggest modifying or expanding current system, or relocating to South Watkins Glen with connections to Montour Falls and Odessa. The outfall would be to Seneca Lake 1981 Needs Survey: Collection and Treatment systems for the Villages of Montour Falls and Odessa, by Lozier Architects/Engineers Environmental Information Document for Wastewater Collection Systems, Villages of Montour Falls and Odessa Montour Falls Treatment Plant regulary exceeds BOD and TSS permits. Onsite WWTS for Moose Lodge and Havana Glen Trailer Park were struggling Small lot sizes In Odessa makes the on-site disposal of wastewater difficult to achieve 1981 Create a sewer from Odessa to Montour Falls or use conventional gravity sewer system for Odessa with a small package plant which discharges to Catlin Creek NA No Done


No Convert Montour Falls to a pumping station for Watkins Glen or upgrade the Montour Falls pumping station 1991 Village of Montour Falls Sewer System Evaluation, by Labella Associates P.C. Extend wastewater to Havana Glen Trailer Park, L'Hommedieu St, Genesee St, Raymond St Extension to slaughterhouse at Seneca St. due to concerns from NYS DEC and DoH regarding 200ft proximity to town wells Summary of flows and capacities No No No


Inventory of Schuyler County Water/Wastewater Infrastructure by Southern Tier Regional Planning and Development Board Watkins Glen International Water and Sanitary System Program, Hunt Engineers, Architects and Land Surveyors, PC

NA 2001 Strategy for extending wastewater service to Watkins Glen International, Empire Development Zone and parts of Town of Dix Yes 2003 Schuyler County Water/Wastewater Infrastructure Development Evaluation for Business and Economic Development, Hunt Engineers, Architects and Land Surveyors PC SCOPED Schuyler County Water/Sewer Administrative Structure Analysis ­ Step 1, Hunt Engineers, Architects and Land Surveyors PC Preliminary Design Report, Irelandville Landfill Wastewater Treatment Plant Watkins Glen, NY, Todd Ecological Inc. To identify areas where local municipalities could support growth if water/sewer infrastructure were available NA Centralized wastewater infrastructure. See main summary of findings in the document 2007 2008 Form a County Sewer and Water District with Inter-municipal Agreements. This would centralize staff and assets to realize a 2% saving to users, starting with consolidation of Watkins Glen and Montour Falls sewer districts. Install a two stage system for on-site treatment of landfill leachate which incorporates an aerated 17 lagoon and a subsurface flow constructed wetland in series No No No

One of the abiding themes of previous suggestions is an element of centralization. A baseline case is defined in Table 4 based on the best overall strategy proposed by HUNT Engineers xvii for total improvements to Schuyler County Wastewater Infrastructure. This strategy uses conventional treatment technologies, involves centralization, and is accompanied by cost estimates, as defined below. This baseline case can be used to benchmark against alternative wastewater treatment solutions that use ecologically innovative technologies. Table 4 ­ 50-year life cycle cost and carbon footprint of a centralized activated sludge process wastewater treatment plant for Schuler County, as proposed by HUNT Engineering (2003) HUNT Engineering - Schuyler County Wastewater Infrastructure Strategy Option C: Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility Town Solution Watkins Glen Centralized conventional treatment plant located at the confluence of the canal and Catharine Creek Montour Falls Convert existing plant to pumping station for connection with Watkins Glen Gravity sewer connected to three pumping stations Conventional collection, trunk sewer to Watkins Glen Conventional collection, trunk sewer to Watkins Glen Straight connection Engineering Services Total O + M Cost Energy consumption Carbon Emissions Footprint 50 Year Life Cycle Cost 50 Year Carbon Footprint 1,344,700 5,432,350 4,032,315 5,400,000 Costs are adjusted to the October 2010 Price Index Capital Cost USD $ % Plant 17,861,305 50 % Mains 0

Cost absorbed above

Montour Falls W Burdett Odessa Irelandville Landfill

0 25 29 0

39 35 31 55

% 23 USD 34,070,670 USD/yr 562,100 kWh/yr 1,405,250 T CO2/yr 695 USD 62,175,670 T CO2 34,748

The discussed solution would have a capacity of 1.4 mgd including the service to Watkins Glen International raceway. Estimations of carbon footprint are based on information from Kadlec and


Wallace (2009) xviii. In choosing the baseline case the following assumptions and specification choices were made: · The system would include trunk sewer connections between mains networks in Odessa and Burdett and the Watkins Glen Treatment Plant. Trunk connections to a completely centralized solution would be cheaper to operate and entail a smaller carbon footprint than conventional plants for Odessa and Burdett. The centralized system will also combine the flows from Montour Falls and the Irelandville Landfill Capital cost information is obtained from the HUNT report Operational cost information is obtained from Salveson et al. (2009) xix Operating carbon footprint is obtained from SCOPED workshop presentation materials xx Costs are inflated to the equivalent 2010 price index Equivalent carbon footprints are based on a Carbon Trust conversion factor of 0.544 kg CO2/kWh A 50 year operating life cycle is assumed over which costs are amortized

· · · · · · ·

The proposed conventional scenario has a 50 year life cycle cost of $62m and a carbon footprint of 35,000 Tons of CO2 emissions, and will be used to benchmark against alternative proposals.

Section 3.0

Community Wastewater Treatment Alternatives

Because water is a local issue with many variables, identifying and fulfilling community priorities is a key aspect of developing successful solutions. The site team visited Schuyler County at the beginning of June to inform the approach of developing concepts that are appropriate to each community. A tour of the local businesses and wastewater treatment facilities was held on Thursday, June 3rd in order to observe existing activities in the County and begin a conversation about the potential for ecologically-friendly future development opportunities. A public workshop followed on Friday, June 4th to introduce the potential benefits of natural systems to community stakeholder, identify the major requirements, concerns and desires of the community, and to identify locations that the community agreed would be suitable for siting a wastewater treatment plant. Firstly, a SWOT (Strength-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) Analysis was performed, followed by identification of priorities using the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) Decision Support Tool (Decentralized Wastewater Stakeholder Decision Model, WERF).


SWOT Analysis



The natural beauty of the region, the lake, wineries, and various recreational activities on and near Seneca Lake support a growing tourism industry in the County. The Finger Lakes Distillery sees about 500-600 visitors on any given Saturday during the summer. The wineries receive marketing and PR support from the regional Finger Lakes Wine Trail Association and the Seneca Lake Winery Association, and technical support from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Service. Tourism has supported the economy of the area to the extent that some improvements within the larger communities have been made in recent years. Watkins Glen, for example, now has a high quality hotel that promotes sustainability practices such as water conservation, waste reduction, and the use of green products. The hotel is located directly on the Seneca Lake waterfront, which is undergoing a planning process to beautify the area and add functionality for recreation purposes. WEAKNESSES Infrastructure for sewer service is lacking in the smaller villages of Burdett and Odessa. In these areas, residential and commercial lots utilize septic systems and there is evidence that systems in the commercial district are failing or have failed. In some cases these systems have been repaired, however, repairs may be difficult because lots are small and there is not enough area to make appropriate upgrades. The lack of sewer infrastructure combined with small lot sizes further complicates the situation and makes it almost impossible for these communities to attract new businesses. Installing sewer services is essential in building capacity so that the villages can attract more visitors and more residents. The villages must utilize their planning capabilities to adopt plans that will dictate how growth should occur in order to maintain the rural character of each community. The lack of sewer infrastructure is a constraint for the smaller communities as they have seen a decline in their local economies and in their populations partially due to their inability to accommodate growth or redevelopment. The Villages could benefit from added sewer service as a catalyst for growth, but in the appropriate locations and to the extent they desire. The wineries, while successful on their own, are small and remain fragmented with little support from the larger tourism industry. In the larger communities of Watkins Glen and Montour Falls where sewer service exists, the infrastructure has potential to become more efficient. Watkins Glen WWTP no longer accepts septage from the households and businesses that rely on onsite septic systems, which increases the cost of septic management for those entities. The Watkins Glen WWTP also creates an aesthetic impact due to its traditional design and proximity to the waterfront recreation areas, the municipal beach and the new hotel. In addition, the plant discharges directly to the Lake, which is a risk that the community would like to see remedied. The Montour Falls WWTP has more significant performance issues including limited capacity for additional growth, and infiltration and inflow during major storm events. The issues may be resolved in the short-term with quick fixes; however a more long-term approach is needed to ensure the WWTP functions properly over time.


OPPORTUNITIES Many of the opportunities for the Villages of Schuyler County and the tourism industry of the Seneca Lake Wineries, Distillery and Cheeseries rely on the availability of infrastructure to dispose of liquid and solid waste properly, efficiently, and without harm to the natural environment. Opportunities for the installation and use of natural treatment systems such as engineered wetlands were discussed as viable options for the smaller communities, in particular. Figure 1 illustrates where the proposed locations and existing wastewater treatment facilities are, on a map of Schuyler County. #6


#2 #3

#4a #4b


Figure 1 Current locations of existing wastewater treatment systems in Schuyler County and proposed locations for natural system infrastructure. Points corresponding to the parcel descriptions are given in this Section. (Graphic is a screen shot of the Schuyler County GIS Planning Tool, described below)

Box 1 ­ Schuyler County GIS Planning Tool The geographical output from this workshop is publicly available on which gives details of the preferred locations and County GIS layers. Anyone who wishes to view or contribute to the data should go to the website and log on with the username: "schuyler"; and password: "schuyler". The website is a Google Map overlaid with GIS layers. A viewer is able to turn layers on and off while navigating around the map. Layers include parcel layers, wetlands, soils, aquifers, and surface waters. When a parcel is selected, all pertinent info about the site is displayed to the right of the map.


In Montour Falls there are a number of areas that may be appropriate for relocating the WWTP. They include: · A natural wetland area located within the "square" of W. South St (NW), Owego St (NE), Mary Layton Dr (SE), and Canal St. (SW). (#4a in the graphic) · A natural wetland area located within the "triangle" of Rte 14 (SW), Walker St (NW), and College Ave (E). This property is privately owned and is for sale. (#4b in the graphic) · A parcel just south of Rte. 224 classified as undeveloped "park". · A parcel along the Canal and just east of the Marina. There is presently a FEMA flood mitigation floodplain project along a dike on easterly border of the Village, near this potential relocation site. · Potential opportunity for shared services with Watkins Glen (Catherine Valley Sewer District, etc) In Odessa, participants at the workshop identified the following locations for natural systems: · Two sites located just west of the forested area next to the school (south of Rte. 224) and just north of Rte 224 in the same area (near the corner of Cotton Hanlon Rd and Rte 224). (#5 in the graphic) · Scrub area along Catlin Creek southeast of downtown Odessa is identified as "wetland area" and could be a potential location for a decentralized system. Options for utilizing natural treatment systems within Watkins Glen or retrofitting the existing WWTP include: · Watkins Glen High School presently has a demonstration rain garden on site, which is near the Canal and could be extended to include a wetland treatment system. The school would be open to natural systems for educational benefit. · An area located adjacent to the Catharine Creek Marsh, between the downtown area and the Canal, just south of Wal-mart, is currently unutilized land. (#2 on the map) · Relocating the existing wastewater treatment system near emergent wetlands with an effluent pump station for transmission to the south into Queen Catharine Marsh. This option would eliminate direct discharge to Seneca Lake, and the assimilative capacity of the Marsh would further polish treated effluent. (#3 in the graphic) · Improving the existing wastewater treatment plant by minimizing the footprint of the plant, producing higher quality effluent (partial use / discharge) and utilizing the extra facility area as leasable space. (#1 in the graphic) · Potential opportunity for shared services with Montour Falls (Catherine Valley Sewer District, etc)


For efficiency, shared services may be an opportunity for the communities to work with the wineries and other tourism businesses. Working with technical support groups and the member associations, the best approaches to shared water resource services can be determined; this may include shared management, operation and maintenance of physically discrete infrastructure systems. The school properties in Odessa and Watkins Glen may also provide opportunities in two ways: 1) as a shared service opportunity and 2) as a water resource educational component to the school's curriculum. All of Schuyler County's municipalities have opportunities for future growth with appropriate and sufficient sewer service. Montour Falls and Watkins Glen, as the more largely populated areas, are targeted economic growth areas, with the potential to accommodate more growth than the smaller communities as long as infrastructure is provided or upgraded. Burdett may see additional growth with the proposed equestrian center. This development, if constructed, would provide an opportunity for economic development in nearby areas, including the Village of Burdett. Working with the developer, the Village has the ability to articulate their vision and ensure the proposed development does not threaten the small town character of the community. Through a potential public/private partnership the proposed project may offer shared services with Burdett, offsetting costs and assisting with economic growth in the Village. (#6 in the graphic) THREATS The communities of Schuyler County have witnessed firsthand the consequences associated with the recent economic downturn. The small villages of Odessa and Burdett are seeing decreasing populations, declining customer and business bases, rising costs, and an increase in failing septic systems, limiting the potential for economic development. In addition, a slowly growing business base in the larger communities of Watkins Glen and Montour Falls is detracting from the smaller communities' commercial base. Local officials and residents of the communities felt that while attracting new businesses to the communities would increase local economies, there is also the potential for the loss of community character and increased environmental impacts. In particular, the village of Burdett has an opportunity with the proposed equestrian center to improve the local economy, yet there is concern for impacts the project may impose on the surrounding community and environment. A "do-nothing" approach to current conditions could potentially create greater threats to the livelihood of county residents, the tourism industry that would otherwise flourish, and the local economic base that would otherwise have the opportunity to grow and prosper. The threats of population decrease, customer and business-related decreases, and rising environmental costs could be countered with the opportunities described above. Innovative approaches to addressing infrastructure issues would enhance existing conditions and provide long-term efficiency throughout the communities and the tourism industry, avoiding potential threats that impact these entities.



Decision Tool Exercise Summary

During the public workshop, participants were asked to use a decision support tool developed for the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF). The "WERF decision support tool" was created as a means of gauging public values on various wastewater treatment technologies and their potential and perceived impacts within communities. At the workshop, participants were asked to assign importance to the following Values: Maximize Economic Value; Optimize Environmental Benefit; and Fulfill Community Objectives. These values portray the categorization of considerations under the modern acumen of "triple-bottom-line" metrics wherein decisions take into consideration the environmental and social aspects of the desired outcome in addition to the traditional economic benefits. Participants expressed widely diverse views, although, the final votes portrayed an evenly balanced ranking of importance among the values. Out of a possible 156 votes from 13 participants, the following tally was recorded: · Maximize Economic Value received 43 votes ­ Discussions covered the distinction between providing services to allow needed economic growth vs. finding solutions that were affordable and fairly balanced amongst residents; Optimize Environmental Benefit received 51 votes ­ There was relatively uniform agreement that water quality objectives were of great value; Fulfill Community Objectives received 53 votes - Providing essential community facilities and allowing the communities to exist and grow was also uniformly important.

· ·

Following a discussion of the differences between conventional centralized approaches and alternative decentralized wastewater systems approaches, participants were asked to rank the likelihood for success under a variety of related attributes associated with each value. The results of the ranking are shown below:


Table 5 ­ Results from the WERF Decision Support Tool Ranking Exercise

Attribute Maximize Economic Value Minimize Capital Costs Minimize O&M Costs Meet Community Economic Needs Optimize Environmental Benefit Improve & Protect Drinking Water Improve & Protect Surface Water Assure Water Quantity Protect Natural Environment Fulfill Community Objectives Quality of Life Stability Equity TOTAL POINTS Value Ranking 43 Decentralized Centralized


17 11 11 2 4 7 8 11 6 20 97

7 13 4 16 8 6 2 4 9 7 76




Community Wastewater Treatment Alternatives

The public workshop highlighted several important considerations: 1. The SWOT Analysis revealed that Villages do not have the financial means to make changes individually, which could threaten their ability to grow. Solutions may therefore exist in a shared services approach which may mean shared operations, shared management or shared physical assets; to improve efficiency and affordability. 2. Stakeholders are still keen to relocate existing Watkins Glen wastewater treatment facilities from the shore of Seneca Lake, and have proposed numerous suitable locations for a wastewater treatment plant. Village officials have expressed particular willingness to investigate public land opportunities for integrated natural systems to be located near the Catharine Creek. The WERF Decision Support Tool Exercise illustrated that the community has very balanced priorities regarding the social, economic and environmental sustainability of green infrastructure solutions. The over-arching principles of the Green Infrastructure Strategy are: · · Protect natural resources; Support the existing (and growing) eco-tourism potential in the County; and



Identify and support short- and long-term goals for ecologically innovative and sustainable opportunities that will guide future physical and economic development.

Furthermore, the following development considerations have been identified as particularly important to the community via studies conducted by SCOPED: · · · · Existing business and job retention Future business and job creation Fundability and cost reasonableness Protection of agricultural lands

Applying the above general criteria to a specification for wastewater treatment systems, we proposed the following design philosophy: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. k. Identify opportunities for shared services between Villages Keep water balance local by returning water to site if possible Make affordable Minimize carbon footprint Identify opportunities for nutrient/water/energy recycling Identify opportunities for incorporating wastes from key economic sectors Utilize existing infrastructure Provide capacity for economic growth goals Eliminate discharge of secondary treated wastewater surface waters Use community identified parcels of land where possible Design so that incremental expansions can be accommodated in response to growth, as opposed to investing in redundancy in the hope of growth

Section 4.0

Feasibility of Alternatives

This section explores the suitability of different treatment technologies with regard to the specification given at the end of the last section. Firstly, the feasibility of over-arching possibilities such as decentralized treatment and nutrient capture are discussed. Secondly, the design constraints of the proposed geographical locations are explored. Thirdly, particular wastewater treatment technologies are considered on the basis of capital and operating costs, energy consumption, the ability to be accommodated in the suggested geographic parcels, typical effluent discharge quality and hence the need for tertiary treatment technologies, proximity to sensitive water bodies such as biodiversity wetlands or potable aquifers.



Possible Ecological Wastewater Approaches for Schuyler County

DECENTRALIZED VERSUS CENTRALIZED Centralization has the potential to realize economies of scale by combining wastewater streams and allowing villages to pool physical assets. However, centralization requires a plumbing network to be constructed for wastewater conveyance which can be very costly depending on conveyance distances and soil geology. More importantly, concentration of wastewater generally requires energy intensive solutions with higher carbon footprints and operating costs, and shifts the water balance away from the point of abstraction. By decentralizing, opportunities to use natural wastewater treatment systems often become possible. System sizes can be smaller and built modularly to respond to community growth. Decentralized networks require a mobile operator, but communities can share management and operations of the different assets. The size of the communities, available land, and the distance between communities makes it very desirable to try and use decentralized technologies where possible. NATURAL VERSUS CONVENTIONAL Natural treatment technologies minimize operational carbon footprint, and often have very low operation and maintenance costs. However, their operation requires specialist knowledge if they are to perform consistently. Conventional wastewater treatment solutions are more robust, but have higher operating costs and carbon footprints. Natural systems have additional benefits such as ability for landscape integration, biodiversity and habitat creation. Based on the need for long term affordability and incremental capacity building, we will try and use natural treatment systems wherever possible. RESOURCE CAPTURE AND REUSE With regard to the project's goals, it is desirable to minimize the impact of waste by identifying opportunities to reuse waste as a resource. Decentralized networks allow treated effluent to be discharged closer to the point of abstraction, than would be possible if wastewater was conveyed to a centralized system. Discharging near the source helps to protect equilibrium conditions in groundwater tables. Other opportunities for water reuse could exist at a residential or industrial scale (e.g. plant process operations at the salt factories), depending on the needs of the community and the technology used. There is also the potential to capture nutrient rich wastewater solids (such as biosolids, sludges and septage) so that they can be stabilized, processed and reused locally for fertilizers. This has the dual benefit of offsetting the use of chemical fertilizer. As such, opportunities for reuse could simultaneously support local agriculture and reduce hauling costs of municipal septage and winery wastewater, by offering a local solution. We will explore the possibility of providing these facilities as part of our green infrastructure concept. Possible solutions could include sludge dewatering wetlands to produced fertilizer cake, or compact anaerobic digesters to produce biogas from winey wastewater.



Suitability of proposed geographical locations

Based on the outcomes of the public workshop, several locations were identified throughout the County which could provide capacity for a decentralized wastewater treatment network (Table 6). Parcels are scrutinized on the basis of available space, proximity to aquifers and protected wetland areas, soil quality and infiltration capacity, and site access. 1. Point #1 is the site of the existing Watkins Glen wastewater treatment plant. One option is to move the existing plant to free up the lakefront property for higher value uses, so these parcels will not be developed. Depending on the structure of the Watkins Glen sewer network, decisions could be made about whether the head-works and a pumping station need to remain at this site. 2. Point #2 is a 36-acre site in Watkins Glen at Parcel 65.18-1-46 owned by Cargill Salt. The soil type is silt loam with negligible gradient. Based on soil textural class, estimates of soil infiltration rate are 0.6 inches per hour, which is suitable for subsurface discharge. However, it is recommended that an infiltration test and mounding test are performed to determine whether this soil would be useful as a subsurface disposal system. The proximity of the site to the Catharine Creek Marsh would facilitate wetland discharge. 3. Point #3, is located on the Queen Catharine Marsh area just south of the Village of Watkins Glen. These points encompass parcels 76.00-1-40, 76.14-1-3, 76.14-1-4, 76.19-1-1.2, 76.19-1-2, 76-14-12. This land has highly saturated soil codes (AQ ­ Aquepts and Saprists) and would only be suitable for discharge to wetland. Tertiary treatment and permit application would probably be required. The site is adjacent to the Catharine Creek Wildlife Management Area which creates possible ecological risks given that there will be no soil disposal at this site. 4. Points #4a and #4b are narrow parcels of land located within a residential block in the Village of Montour Falls. The available area is the undeveloped parts of parcels 86.08-1-36, 86.08-1-37.1, 86.07-3-41.2, 86.12-1-4 (zoning R2) and comprises just over 10 acres of land. Soil types are silt loams which are generally suitable for drainage. Exploratory tests must be performed to establish the available head between Montour Falls and the groundwater table, and the infiltration rate of the soil. 5. Point #5 comprises two narrow parcels of land in Odessa. Proximity to world-class trout streams would make surface discharge undesirable. Altogether about 16 acres of mixed soils are available for subsurface discharge, which include steep Valois and Howard Soils (unsuitable for drainage), gravel and silt loams (potentially suitable) and frequently flooded fluvaquent and udifluvent soil types which border the creek (not suitable). More site investigation is required to determine whether the available subsurface discharge capacity can protect trout-streams 6. At Point #6, approximately 4 acres of Howard gravelly loam with a 3-8% slope will be available for a treatment system. This soil is probably suitable for drainage although infiltration tests are required to make sure that infiltration rates are not above 2.4 inches per hour.


One additional parcel (Point #7) has been identified through discussion with the community, which is not indicated on the map. 7. Point #7 is located at Parcel 65.18-1-45.2, which is located easterly of the high school sports field, adjacent to the Canal. Approximately four (4) acres of land are available behind the baseball diamond.


Point # 1 2

TABLE 6: Parcels Selected for Natural Wastewater Treatment Systems

Site Name WWTP WWTP Marsh (behind Walmart) Parcel ID 65.09-239.1 65.09-238.2 65.18-146 76.00-140 76.14-1-3 76.14-1-4 76.19-11.2 76.19-1-2 76.14-1-2 86.08-136 86.08-137.1 86.07-341.2 86.12-1-4 87.16-2-1 87.16-11.11 54.00-13.1 Acres 0.25 1.02 35.9 106.7 33.9 36.7 3.522 4.5 5.498 5.28 5.22 (R-2 zoning) 4.40 1.22 8.50 7.44 4.0 available Parcel Owner Village of Watkins Glen Village of Watkins Glen Cargill, Inc. Products Pipeline, LP Products Pipeline, LP State of NY State of NY State of NY State of NY Frank D. Emmick Frank D. Emmick Village of Montour Falls James D. Kuttner Seneca Hardwoods, LLC Barry L. Wixson Paul Buozis Street Address Lakeside Lakeside Fourth St. Marsh-Miller NYS Rte 14 H. Miller Marsh Marsh NYS Rte 14 218-220 S. Catherine St. 339 College Ave Canal St. Canal St. Cotton-Hanlon Rd NYS Rte 224 Middle Rd Muni Watkins Glen Watkins Glen Watkins Glen Town of Dix Town of Dix Town of Dix Town of Dix Town of Dix Town of Dix Montour Falls Montour Falls Montour Falls Montour Falls Odessa Odessa Burdett

Soils Present on Site* Te Te Wk, Wy, Te AQ AQ AQ AQ AQ AQ Te, Wy Te, DkB Te Te FF, VHF, HrA FF, VHF, HrA, DkB HrB

Soil suitability for disposal Bad Bad Ok Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Good Good Good Good Ok Ok Good


Marsh, NYS Rte 14


Montour Falls Village


Montour Falls Village

5 6

Odessa Burdett



Classes of Available Wastewater Technology

Some wastewater treatment technologies are better suited to our remit than others. This will be illustrated by considering available technologies in several groups according to Salveson at al. (2009) xxi, and comparing typical design and operational parameters with the ability to meet specification. CONVENTIONAL CUSTOMIZED Conventional customized systems include Activated Sludge Processes, Extended Aeration, Anaerobic/anoxic/aerobic, biological nutrient removal, trickling filters and rotating biological contactors. These are well established and understood technologies which allow a high degree of process control and hence achieve robust treatment performance. Generally speaking, customized conventional processes involve large capital investments and require widespread centralized network coverage to achieve economies of scale. Maintenance requirements and energy consumption is relatively high. CONVENTIONAL PACKAGE Package plants emulate conventional wastewater treatment processes at a small, modular scale. Systems include Activated Sludge Package Plants (FAST etc.), Sequencing Batch Reactors, Oxidation ditches, biological filtration (e.g. AdvanTex). Package plants generally require a greater capital expenditure than equivalent conventional customized systems, but module sizes are usually small so that investment can closely match demand. MEMBRANE CUSTOMIZED SOLUTIONS These systems combine aerobic biological treatment with fine mesh membrane to achieve very high treatment performance. Membrane Biological Reactors and Reverse Osmosis filters are two such examples of this technology. Systems rely heavily on pumping and aeration and therefore have relatively large energy consumption. Systems are compact in comparison to equivalent activated sludge processes (one-third to one-half the footprint) and produce effluent quality which is suitable for indoor and outdoor, non-potable reuse applications. NATURAL SYSTEMS Natural systems tend to operate without the electro-mechanical intensification which is synonymous with conventional treatment processes; however, they usually require larger land areas. Some engineering solutions have been developed which combine a small degree of intensification with natural purification processes to achieve systems with a practical footprint. Constructed wetlands, lagoons and ponds are all examples of natural systems. These systems generally have low operations and maintenance costs in comparison to other technologies, but specialist understanding is required to operate the system for good year-round treatment performance and robust operation. A tertiary


treatment stage or drainage field is generally required to ensure consistent compliance. Ancillary benefits include integration with the landscape, biodiversity, habitat restoration, recreation, education and horticulture. ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT SYSTEMS Salveson et al. (2009) define the Living Machine as an alternative treatment system. This technology is a more intensified version of a natural system, and generally uses two wetland cells that reciprocate flow between then, thus often being referred to as `fill-and-drain' wetlands. The pumping volumes involved lead to high energy consumption. The systems are also quite capital-intensive due to the patented processes. The systems can, however, be integrated into nature to inherit the ecological benefits of natural systems but with the treatment performance of conventional systems. COMPARISON OF APPROACHES More information about the capital and operational costs, carbon footprint and achievable treatment performance of each group of technologies is given in Table 7. Table 7 compares each technological approach using the carbon footprint and life-cycle cost after 50 years, for 1 mgd per plant. It should be emphasized that typical cost information for these groups of systems is derived from Salveson at al. (2009) and should be taken as a guide in lieu of further research. The life cycle costs do not reflect inflation over the 50 year period cannot account for advances on technology or operation, and should be used for comparative purposes only. Carbon Footprint information is taken from Kadlec and Wallace (2009) and only considers the carbon equivalence of electricity consumption. The carbon footprint of chemical consumption, operator travel and additional impacts are not considered. Electricity consumption is converted to Carbon Footprint using an equivalent factor of 0.544 kg CO2 per kWh, as based on standard electricity production for US utilities.


Table 7 - Major design considerations for different groups of wastewater treatment technology. Information is derived from Salveson et al., (2009) and Kadlec and Wallace (2009).

Plant Capacity mgd Capital Expenditure ($ USD) Operational Expenditure ($ USD/ yr) Area (Acres) Energy Consumption (kWh/gallon) Carbon Footprint (T CO2/yr) 50 Year Cost of Life Cycle ($USD) 50 Year Carbon Footprint (T CO2) BOD (% removal efficiency) TSS (% removal efficiency) TN (% removal efficiency) TP (% removal efficiency) Pros 0.1 1 0.1 1 0.1 1 1 1 1 1 Conventional Customized Conventional package Membrane customized Natural Systems Alternative Treatment

1,900,000 7,000,000 193,450 766,500

2,300,000 9,000,000 164,250 511,000

4,600,000 11,000,000 109,500 292,000

1,500,000 3,000,000 146,000 401,500

3,400,000 17,000,000 149,650 730,000

876,000 477 45,325,000 23827 95 95 92 93 Highly controllable process High operational expense

1,642,500 894 34,550,000 44676 95 95 93 84 Easy to upgrade additional capacity High operational expense

2,336,000 1271 25,600,000 63539 95 93 99 99 Compact footprint, high effluent quality High capital expense, energy intensive

219,000 119 23,075,000 5957 75 73 40 25

2,117,000 1152 53,500,000 57582 98 77 78 55 Can be integrated High capital expense, energy intensive 33

Low operations cost, biodiversity, sustainable


Tertiary treatment required, and big footprint

It can be seen that natural systems have the lowest life cycle cost ($23 million net present value amortized over 50 years) and the lowest carbon footprint (6000 T CO2 emitted over 50 years). The second least expensive systems over a 50-year life-cycle are membrane bioreactors (MBRs). However, these systems require a large initial investment and have a large carbon footprint associated with operation. These systems could be useful where large-scale opportunities for reuse exist, such as in the salt industry, whereby the ecological benefits of reuse outweigh the carbon footprint associated with membrane bioreactor treatment. This discussion has emphasized that natural systems should be used wherever possible. The scenario(s) developed will be based on this notion.

Section 5.0

Natural Wastewater Infrastructure Concepts

This section explores natural treatment system solutions to the following wastewater infrastructure problems. · · · · · · · · · Watkins Glen Village Montour Falls Village Odessa Burdett The Havana Glen Trailer Park area Regional wastewater solids management (septage, sludges and biosolids) For treatment of landfill leachate at Irelandville landfill site Stormwater retention Winery wastewater management

The amalgamated systems would form a decentralized network of wastewater treatment systems which could benefit from shared management and operation services. There is a large degree of flexibility over the final solution and the proposed concepts should be used as an illustration of what is possible as opposed to final recommendations. Each approach would offer a different package of benefits to the community and flexibility will allow the community to identify which components would be most preferable based on their needs. The cost and area requirements for Vertical Flow Treatment Wetlands are based on the typical size for achieving treatment of municipal wastewaters to secondary standard, and system cost and size will vary depending on the regulatory requirements ultimately stipulated by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.


The cost and area requirements of subsurface disposal via drainage fields are highly dependent on soil conditions. For example, a silt loam with infiltration rate on the order of 0.5 gal/ft2.d could typically require approximately 2 ft2/gal of drainage area at a cost of 33 $/gal, whereas a gravel loam with infiltration rate on the order of 5 gal/ft2.d would only require 0.2 ft2/gal at a cost of 4 $/gal. The parcels indicated in this report contain soil classes which vary between gravel and silt loam and, therefore, further site surveys would be required to determine the exact area requirements. For the purpose of this report the calculated area requirements for drainage fields are based on conservative assumptions for silt loam type soils, and the disclosed figures should be considered a rough guide. If subsequent site investigation indicates that subsurface disposal would be inappropriate due to excessive area or cost requirements then alternative disposal solutions may be necessary, such as tertiary disinfection or acquisition of additional land area for disposal. The cost of these components will not be considered in this report, and would be ascertained pending further onsite investigation.


Large Treatment Wetland Plant at Watkins Glen with Subsurface Discharge

Under this scenario, a large treatment wetland system would be developed at Parcel 65.18-1-46 (Point #2) that would provide the combined wastewater treatment for Watkins Glen and Montour Falls. This strategy would enable the site of the current wastewater treatment plant to be redeveloped. Further analysis would be required to decide whether the current site would still house the head-works and a new pumping station. It is suggested that Watkins Glen International installs additional Equalization to limit maximum discharge to 0.15 mgd. The 6.9-acre treatment wetland plant could consist of several Cold-climate ready, compact vertical down-flow treatment wetlands with Forced Bed AerationTM cells. These systems are top-insulated to provide year-round wastewater treatment in cold climates; an important consideration for New York State. The wetlands could be cultured to foster indigenous plant species. Additional landscape architecture services could be provided to integrate the systems into the landscape, and provide recreational and educational opportunities. The 6.9-acre site would have to be cleared to allow construction of the wetland cells as it is heavily vegetated. Sewage collection from Montour Falls and Watkins Glen will be by the existing sewer infrastructure, with the existing wastewater treatment plants converted into pumping stations. Primary treatment would be via primary clarification tanks. If a wetland module size of 50,000 sq. ft. is used then 6 cells would be required. The total treatment capacity would be 0.9 mgd which would provide the combined residential peak loads from Watkins Glen and Montour Falls, the equalized flow from WGI and a buffer of approximately 0.1 mgd. The module size would help to maintain good hydraulic performance. Additional cells can be added at a later date in response to capacity growth.


A typical silt loam drainage field for discharge of this flow would be on the order of 40 acres, and therefore it may be difficult to accommodate adequate drainage on this Parcel alone. A solution may be to incorporate the available space behind the High School Baseball Diamond for additional drainage capacity, however, a drainage field of this magnitude would be expensive. An alternative approach is to use a smaller subsurface drainage component as a buffer to the Catharine Marsh, but utilize the natural assimilatory capacity of Catharine Marsh for additional tertiary treatment. The land excavated from the wetland cells could be used to counteract mounding issues by providing additional infiltration depth between point of subsurface discharge and the groundwater table.


Separate Treatment Wetland Plants at Watkins Glen and Montour Falls with Discharge to Natural Wetland

Maintaining separate services at Watkins Glen and Montour Falls would enable treated effluent to be returned to the same region from where it was abstracted, thus closing the water balance for these towns. Under this scenario, separate treatment wetlands for Watkins Glen and Montour Falls would discharge secondary standard effluent to the Queen Catharine Marsh area. This would be similar to the existing system at Montour Falls, and would be dependent on New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) permitting. The Catharine Creek is a NYSDEC Class 1 Regulated Freshwater Wetland, due to its status as a habitat for rare and endangered flora and fauna. Under the regulations implementing the Uniform Procedure Act, Wastewater Treatment Facilities for Watkins Glen and Montour Falls which discharge to Catharine Creek would be considered major projects. Notice of all major projects must be published in both the Environmental Notice Bulletin (ENB) and a designated local newspaper to allow for public review. Projects that discharge to Class 1 Regulated Freshwater Wetlands are required to apply for a specific discharge permit. The existing WWTP at Montour Falls has secondary standard discharge limits to Catharine Creek, which require the 30 day average concentration of BOD and TSS to be below 25 mg/L and 30 mg/L respectively. If flows at Montour Falls remain consistent, then it is reasonable to expect that the proposed Montour Falls wetland treatment system would be subject to the same discharge limits. The Watkins Glen wetland treatment system currently would need to apply for a similar permit, and could potentially receive similar permit requirements. The current permit limits for Montour Falls WWTP are based on the ability of Catharine Creek to accommodate the discharged mass loading. Combining the discharges of Watkins Glen and Montour Falls to Catharine Creek may result in stricter limits for both WWTPs. If it is decided to pursue a surface discharge for the wetland treatment systems, then consultation will be required with NYSDEC


Region 8 (incl. Schuyler Co.) Permit Administrators and Divisional Water Engineers, to determine what the discharge limits would be. It would be possible to engineer a wetland system to comply with stricter TSS or BOD based limits, or any nitrogen based effluent limits which are prescribed (Amm-N, Nitrate, TN, TKN etc.). In this instance it is advisable that the aerated wetland cell is split into stages, with some degree of recirculation. Recirculation allows the operator to manage nitrogen concentrations and if necessary, a separate denitrification system component may be designed to address nitrogen standards. As discussed in Section 5.1, another strategy to achieve discharge consents would be to include a small drainage field which would partially buffer the pollutant load reaching the Creek. These tactics will ensure that stricter consent limits are achieved, but will increase the cost of the treatment plant. If a limit for phosphorous derivatives is imposed (i.e. TP) then an additional treatment stage will most probably be required to achieve compliance, which will increase system costs beyond those discussed here. There is the possibility that an Environmental Impact Assessment will be required to derive appropriate limits, based on identification of potential threat to endangered wildlife species posed by increasing discharges to Catharine Creek. If new discharges to Catharine Creek are permitted at similar levels as those for the existing Montour Falls WWTP, then the wetland plant discussed in Section 5.1 would be 4.2 acres and solely serve the capacity of Watkins Glen. The individual capacity of this plant would be 550,000 gpd, and again it is suggested that Equalization capacity at Watkins Glen International is increased to limit discharge to 0.15 mgd. The system at Montour Falls would require 2.7 acres of treatment wetlands. Ideally, this system could be accommodated on Parcel #2 (adjacent to Route #14), pending further soil investigation. The existing Montour Falls treatment plant would be converted to a primary clarifier and pumping station, and would utilize existing sewer infrastructure. The system would provide 350,000 gpd of capacity.


Watkins Glen International

Based on the scenarios outlined in Section 5.1 and 5.2, additional Equalization Tanks should be installed to limit discharge to 0.15 mgd. Based on a daily flow of 0.45 mgd for each day of the weekend, this flow would take 6 days to discharge which should enable adequate buffering between weekend races. There is also the possibility to develop an intermittent flow treatment wetland system at the WGI site. A small system could provide a back-up to existing Equalization and reduce the load on the Watkins Glen wastewater treatment facilities. Such a strategy would require further investigation and discussion with WGI.



The Village of Burdett

Burdett would be serviced by individual cold climate ready, vertical down-flow treatment wetland cells. The site at Burdett would be 15,000 sq. ft., with a capacity of 45,000 gpd, and located at Parcel 54.00-1-3.1 (Point #6) where 4 acres are available for development. A 2-acre drainage field would be installed into the Howard Gravelly loam on-site and wastewater collection would be via a Septic Tank Effluent Pump (STEP) system which would convey septic tank effluent to the wetland. The STEP approach is commonly used in more rural communities as a means of reducing wastewater collection costs and improving the overall performance of the wastewater system by using septic tanks at the individual homes to provide primary treatment. These septic tanks would be maintained under the direction of the sewer service entity, not the homeowner. This would help to counteract issues with failing septic tanks in this community. Approximately 4.5 miles of pressure sewer line would need to be installed around the village to enable connection between STEP systems and the wetland.


The Village of Odessa

The Odessa system would be similar to that of Burdett in that it would utilize the existing septic tank infrastructure for primary treatment, and make connections via STEPs. The system would be 30,000 sq. ft. and with a 4-acre drainage field into the predominantly Fluvaquent-Udifluvent soil. The total capacity would be 87,000 gpd. The proposed Parcel 87.16-2-1 (Point #5) is close to a trout-stream which may interact with the frequently flooded Fluvaquent-Udifluvent soils to create potential for disposal field failure. An alternative parcel has been proposed by the Schuyler County Watershed Inspectorate: Parcel 87.16-1-1.12 which is owned by the Wesleyan Church and has ample room to accommodate the proposed system. The availability of this site for locating a WWTP would need to be investigated. In the case that it is not convenient to develop a STEP sewer network to serve the whole village, it would be possible to implement a smaller wetland treatment system which only serves the school and commercial users along the Main Street corridor. Further investigation would be required to determine the exact cost and size of such a system.


Havana Glen Trailer Park and surrounding area

It is estimated that the region that comprises Havana Glen Trailer Park, L'Hommedieu St, Genesee St, and Raymond St. would account for approximately 19,000 gpd of flow. A similar STEP and vertical flow treatment wetland could provide service to this region. A system size of approximately 6,500 sq. ft.,


with a supporting 38,000 sq. ft. drain field would be adequate. A suitable location for this system would be Parcel 86.08-1-12, which constitutes 37 acres of State owned land.


Wastewater Solids Management

To handle the wastewater solids management for the community, we believe it would be possible to use a 4-cell, 2-acre biosolids wetland located at Parcel 65.18-1-46 (Point #2) on the same site as the proposed Watkins Glen wetland treatment plant (regen system). The proposed location is sufficiently remote to preclude odor concerns. The system would process up to 440 tons of dry solid waste per year, which is equivalent to the estimated solids produced by the residential population of all four villages in the County and with the same capacity again for agro-industrial biosolids produced by the wineries. This would provide a local solution for septage disposal and winery biosolid disposal, and alleviate some of the economic constraints which have been hindering growth. The stabilized solids cake can be processed and used locally as a fertilizer, thus reducing dependence on chemical fertilizers. There may also be the possibility to employ biogas capture via anaerobic digestion technology, although this would require further investigation.


Irelandville Landfill Leachate

At the moment leachate is collected in storage vaults and then hauled to sites elsewhere in the region. Based on the previous findings of Todd Ecological (2008) xxii, it should be possible to explore the use of treatment wetlands to provide leachate treatment at the landfill site. The system would be developed in conjunction with the Schuyler Joint Landfill Commission and is projected to cost in the region of $250,00023. Any developed system could be operated in the same regional network of decentralized systems which serve municipalities.


Stormwater management

Solutions for stormwater management could also be investigated as part of the concept for sustainable wastewater strategy. Alleviating run-off to combined sewers will reduce strain on wastewater infrastructure and reduce the chance of plant failure due to inflow and infiltration. Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems such as bio-swales, rain-gardens and stormwater retention basins could be incorporated into green spaces in the municipal areas of Watkins Glen and Montour Falls. The costs and potential of this solution require further investigation.

5.10 Winery wastewater management


Create a network of decentralized natural wastewater treatment systems to allow on-site treatment and disposal of the winery wastewater. These systems would most probably be horizontal subsurface flow treatment wetlands preceded by a septic tank, or roughing filter for particularly high strength wastes. Compact vertical flow systems could be incorporated where space is an issue. For example, an initial calculation indicates that a horizontal wetlands treatment system which provides wastewater treatment capacity for a winery which produces 100,000 gpy of wine would require 1,200 sq. ft. at a cost of approximately $100,000. Based on a current haulage cost of $0.2/gallon the payback time for a system like this to winery owners would be approximately 5 years. The cost and size of the system will depend on the size of the winery, production and management practices, peak flows and wastewater loading. This strategy would allow the wineries to take advantage of land they have and reduce dependence on wastewater haulage.


Cost of decentralized natural systems network

Using the solutions proposed in Section 5, a concept is costed in Table 9 which can be directly compared against the conventional alterative. This is based on the best case scenario that permits can be obtained for secondary standard discharge to Catharine Creek from wetland systems at Watkins Glen and Montor Falls. To aid this, the projected cost of the wastewater treatment system at Irelandville Landfill Leachate is based on the findings of Todd Ecological Inc. (2008) xxiii. This cost comparison does not consider stormwater and solids management, as these factors were not considered in the 2003 Hunt report xxiv. It should be emphasized that the figures quoted are subject to the following conditions: · · · · Budgetary cost estimates have an expected accuracy of +/- 30% No land acquisition included in costs An additional 250,000 gallons of storage is included at WGI At Montour Falls and Watkins Glen Treatment is only required to secondary standard and no additional stages are required for advanced nutrient removal (nitrate or phosphate). Discharge is to Catharine Creek Marsh Costs are developed without site specific information (topography, soils, ground water, etc.) Septic Tank Effluent Pump (STEP) unit is purchased by homeowner Drainage field costs are based on a hypothetical infiltration rate of 0.5 gal/ft2.d for silt loam, and true costs will vary depending on soil conditions

· · ·


Table 9: Cost estimation of the decentralized natural system wastewater treatment network for Schuyler County, and comparison to a conventional, centralized regional wastewater treatment plant alternative Operating Cost $ USD/yr 209,016 Carbon Footprint T CO2/yr 65.5

Watkins Glen Wetland Modules Watkins Glen plumbing and disposal Conversion of existing Watkins Glen Forcemain from Watkins Glen plant site Montour Falls Wetland Modules Montour Falls plumbing and disposal Conversion of existing Montour Falls Plant Forcemain from Montour falls Plant Site Odessa Wetland Plant Plumbing and disposal STEP sewer network Burdett Wetland Plant Plumbing and disposal STEP sewer network Havana Glen Network Plumbing and disposal WGI 0.25 mg EQ Tank for Buffering Irelandville Landfill Treatment System Engineering services and contingency Totals 50 Year Life Cycle Cost ($ USD) 50 Year Carbon Footprint (T CO2)

Capacity gpd 550,000





5,500 1,056,500 Decentralized 45,835,772 6,286

Capital Cost $ USD 7,164,877 274,000 1,630,300 407,575 4,548,734 274,000 896,665 519,915 1,108,507 1,734,752 488,268 559,172 898,521 542,520 219,018 380,731 489,090 342,500 3,281,627 25,760,772 Conventional 62,175,670 34,748









2,090 401,500 Saving 16,339,898 28,462

0.7 125.7 % Saving 26% 82%

As evident from Table 9, it is estimated that to provide wetland treatment to Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, Odessa, Burdett, Havana Glen and Irelandville Landfill would cost in the region of $25.8 million. Annual operating expense is expected to be $401,500 per year with an associated carbon footprint of 125.7 T CO2/yr. This compares very favorably to the conventional baseline case which requires a capital expenditure of $34.1 million, and had annual operational impacts of $562,100 per year and 700 T CO2/yr. When the life cycle cost and carbon footprint of each option are considered across a 50-year


period it can be seen from Table 9 that the decentralized natural treatment network would save $16 million (26%) and 28,500 T CO2 emissions (82%) when compared to a regional centralized conventional wastewater treatment plant. Most importantly, a decentralized network can be built out incrementally to aid gradual affordability; unlike a centralized system which would require to be built to capacity in the first instance. It should be reiterated that the stipulated costs are estimated to ±30%. The proposed scenario is conceptualized in Figure 2.


Figure 2

A Proposed Concept, based on Section 5.2


Section 7.0

Funding, Implementation and Operations

In addition to which technology is selected and where the treatment systems are located, how the systems are funded, built and operated are equally important considerations that will be discussed, but not thoroughly developed at this stage. To some degree, these business decisions interrelate with the technical choices and our primary intention here is to illustrate some of the innovative approaches that are available. Detailed investigation of the specific laws which control each option along with understanding the nature of all existing entities is required to make an informed choice with regards to these options, some of which can help overcome current financial and political hurdles. The table below illustrates the options available for ownership and management beginning at the municipal/county level. The characteristics listed are typical and can sometimes be modified by contracting methodology which allows blending of characteristics to match goals and objectives. Ownership of wastewater systems in New York can take several forms that offer differing capabilities and complexities. The form of ownership of the future wastewater facility should be considered as soon as possible in the planning process so that the actions taken to control and implement new facilities and upgrade the existing facilities fulfill the operating protocol and financial goals of the future owner. Whereas, these objectives will be similar with regards to the environmental attributes, they could differ with regards to the details of the facility functions and methods of financing. It is important to match the characteristics of the owning and service entities with the required skills and operating capabilities of the solutions selected. It is not necessary to have water supply and wastewater infrastructure owned by the same entity, but there are operating and financial efficiencies that can be gained by combining these assets together. Combining the wastewater and water systems under one operating entity provides for more efficient labor and customer service and avoids potential duplication from overlapping aspects of these related asset functions. The same holds true for stormwater facilities, although these needs are less pressing at this time but likely to evolve in a similar manner in the future. The typical wastewater and water ownership options are illustrated in Table 8 and discussed subsequently.


Entity Municipality or other governmental entity e.g. County

Table 8: Overview of Ownership Options Role Strength Tax free financing, access Public finance, own, to federal funding, operate, contract for combine multiple public services, regulate services for efficiency, backed by taxation security

Quasi-Governmental Special District, Authority, Public Nonprofit Cooperative ­ Private Nonprofit (Association)

Private For Profit ­ Transportation Corp

Public Private Partnership (P3)

Tax free revenue based financing, access to federal funding, focused services, guaranteed by taxing authority Revenue based financing Public and private separate from public debt finance, own, operate, structure, access to contract for services, subfederal funding, regulate independent of political drivers Revenue based financing Private finance, own, separate from public debt operate, contract for structure, labor and services, sub-regulate operating cost efficiency gains, risk shedding for governmental entities, services and costs controlled by local governments Combination private Combines benefits of public financing, own, other forms of operate, sub-regulate ownership, tax free revenue based financing, access to federal funding, labor and operating cost efficiency gains

Public finance, own, operate, contract for services, sub-regulate

Weakness Political drivers create instability, Municipal/County debt limitations, service area limitations restricted based on political boundaries, labor costs carry governmental requirements Diversion from public objectives possible, inflexibility, labor costs carry governmental requirements Diversion from public objectives possible, financial security is not backed by taxation, higher cost of debt Higher risk of financial failure if inadequate securities provided, change of ownership possible

Success requires secure and carefully crafted contracts, financial security of private entities necessary



Governmental - Municipal/County

A governmental entity or entities could own the wastewater and water assets as a part of the municipal infrastructure and operate the system as a separate utility under the municipal governing body or as a part of the public works department. This is the current form of ownership of the existing wastewater and water systems. Municipal ownership offers some advantage with regards to access to public financing, but is somewhat more complicated with regards to civil service employment regulations, procurement regulations and the influence of local politics on the system management. Having the backing of the municipality's taxing power is advantageous for financial security and ability to qualify for low interest funding, but having the infrastructure be financially self sufficient and fully supported by customer rate charges is normally desired. The taxing power of the municipality should only support the financing and not supplement the system operation. Under the municipal option, services can be provided to surrounding municipalities via inter-local service agreements, but such arrangements can raise concerns over time with regards to appropriate cost allocation and fairness to the outside communities.


Quasi-Governmental ­ Authority, Special District, Public Nonprofit

The formation of a wastewater or combined water and wastewater authority provides a quasigovernmental management alternative that generally qualifies for all of the financial benefits offered by municipal ownership and carries many of the same procurement and management characteristics. The governing body of an authority is generally appointed by the participating municipal governments or county government, as appropriate, and secures independent financing by loans and bonds that are backed by the general obligation of the municipality's or county's taxing power. Under this alternative, the assets must be fully financed by the revenue from rate payers and the debt is generally outside of the municipal spending caps. This approach has the advantage of being somewhat independent of the political climate of the municipality but this sometimes presents difficulties if the authority develops ambitions that differ from those of the governing bodies. The operating charter of the authority is defined in the initial formation but then is difficult to change once bonds and loans are secured. It is therefore not a flexible asset management mechanism unless defined as such initially. Quasigovernmental entities generally follow the same civil service labor and operating characteristics of governmental entities and thus bear similar cost characteristics. The ability to create service territories that cross municipal boundaries is an advantage, but requires good cooperation of the participating entities to define and meet all competing goals and objectives.


Private Nonprofit Cooperative or Association

A private nonprofit entity such as a cooperative or association can be formed by the system users as one alternative. Homeowner's or landowner's associations are one example of such an operating nonprofit entity supported by association fees paid by property owners for operation and


maintenance of the facilities. Cooperatives are common and very successful in the area of power supply utilities, but are not commonly used for water and wastewater although the legal provisions generally exist. The Homeowner Association is a more common form of asset management which sometimes encompasses water and wastewater systems in addition to other commonly shared assets such as parks, roads, community centers, etc. The association can also be a special purpose entity focused only on the management of the wastewater/water assets. A cooperative or association form of ownership separates the municipality for the financial responsibility of the facility's operation and management but this form of ownership is less viable with smaller customer bases which may lack the ability to provide adequate management and financial discipline. Associations often have difficulty managing complex assets effectively and can experience financial problems if funding and maintenance are not adequate. Ultimately, if an association falls into financial difficulty the municipality is the next logical entity in line to provide assistance, so even though there is no legal liability there is a practical responsibility that can implicate the municipality should problems arise.


Private For-Profit Utility ­ Transportation Corporation

A private utility can own and operate both wastewater and water assets in New York, but the control mechanism differ somewhat. The New York Public Service Commission regulates the financial and service aspects of water utilities but private wastewater entities require local control under the Transportation Corporation rules. A private utility is the most independent form of ownership wherein the municipality does not have any financial or physical obligations for the asset management. The municipality does have the ability to control the service area of the utility by defining the service area via approval of a franchise area that defines the geographical limit and type of the service provided. The municipality also has power to regulate user rates under the Transportation Corporation rules. The private utility is financed by private equity and a combination of private and public debt financing. The systems for Watkins Glen and Montour Falls are large enough to readily become viable private utilities but stand-alone facilities to service Odessa and Burdett are very small for this model, although examples of this form of ownership exist in other states, some with passive type treatment systems being utilized. These smaller villages could be combined with the larger service areas of Odessa and Burdett and thereby form one larger and more viable utility. In some instances, municipalities monetize existing assets by selling them to private utilities in order to raise funds for other uses.

7.4.1 Public Private Partnerships

The Public-Private Partnership (sometimes referred to as a P3) arrangement is a more recent means of monetizing asset value without transferring ownership. Under this alternative, the governmental entities retain ownership and transfer operation and financial obligations to a private entity under a long term contract, generally 20 years or longer. In this example the contract which creates the P3 must clearly detail the financial and management obligations and performance requirements. Such contracts are often renewable at the end of the initial


term, or transfer responsibility back to the municipality at that point in time. This approach is becoming more common where upgrade and new facility requirements are more efficiently built and operated via a private entity but financing is more efficient with a combination of public and private debt. Underwriting such arrangements with adequate financial performance guarantees is generally accepted as a means of assuring performance. This model is very common in the renewable energy sector where new facilities are required and is now more commonly considered for water and wastewater assets. Funding opportunities encompass many traditional options associated with municipal bonds, State Revolving Fund and private sources of funding.


Funding Opportunities

There are an array of funding opportunities that are all moving targets based on status of federal and state funding mechanisms at any given point in time and readiness of the facility plan to be funded. Most funding agencies require well established and detailed plans prior to approving any funds. Recent green infrastructure initiatives have established zero interest loans and grants for sustainable approaches which fit the natural system concepts set forth herein. Reviewing the various mechanisms with J.C. Smith recently highlights the following: a. USDA Rural Development ­ currently has a 3 ­ 5 yr backlog due to popularity and beginning an early screening and scoring effort is worthwhile. Get on the list. b. State Revolving Fund ­ Continued federal support sends signals that this still remains the primary funding mechanism for municipal wastewater facilities. Hardship financing and Green Innovations Grant program still exist and provide grant opportunities. c. HUD Community Block Grants are still available throughout NY which offers approximately $15M/yr spread around approximately 15 grants. d. Appalachian Regional Commission e. Economic Development Grants ­ extremely limited and focused currently on job production 8. NYSDEC Water Quality Improvement Projects (WQIP) program - to upgrade wastewater treatment infrastructure and vastly improve surface water quality.

Section 8.0


Schuyler County is a vibrant community of small towns and villages supported by a burgeoning agricultural, winery and tourist industry. Opportunities for further economic development rely on the expansion of wastewater infrastructure. As part of wider sustainability objectives this report has explored the potential to meet wastewater treatment needs with innovative ecological solutions such as natural systems.


It was found that current wastewater capacity is substandard for supporting future growth. The Villages of Odessa and Burdett, and parts of the Village of Montour Falls, suffer problems with failing septic systems. The Watkins Glen wastewater treatment plant is forced to capacity during race days at the Watkins Glen International Speedway. The wastewater treatment plant at Montour Falls is susceptible to inflow and infiltration during wet weather events which cause overflow. To properly understand the needs of the community research has included a review of previous studies into Schuyler County sewer services, an appraisal of the current situation via site visits, and the outcomes of an interactive public workshop where community members expressed their priorities regarding the service that wastewater infrastructure would provide to the community. Previous work by HUNT Engineers had suggested creating a regional centralized activated sludge process wastewater treatment plant. This was used as a baseline against which to compare decentralized natural system wastewater treatment networks. A specification for concept proposal was developed from research, and it was believed that this is well answered by using a network of constructed wetlands to provide wastewater treatment solutions. a. Identify opportunities for shared services between Villages The decentralized network can be managed, operated and potentially owned by the same entity. This will help to pool human resources and expertise while allowing physical assets to be local to each village. b. Keep water balance local by returning water to site if possible Using a decentralized network allows wastewater treatment within the proximity of the source, such that the regional water balance can be closed. c. Make affordable The proposed decentralized natural system solution has a life cycle cost which is 26% lower than an equivalent centralized alternative. The decentralized network can be built out incrementally which allows flexible fund investment; as opposed to a centralized conventional solution which would require capacity build out upfront. Opportunities for external funding have been explored, including private utility, to make these opportunities more instantly realizable. d. Minimize carbon footprint The proposed decentralized natural system solution has a 50-year carbon footprint which is 82% lower than that of the conventional alternative.


e. Identify opportunities for nutrient/water/energy recycling A biosolids dewatering wetland incorporated into the larger wetland network would allow septage, biosolids and sludge to be treated locally. Additional to reducing local costs for hauling waste there is the potential to recycle stabilized cake as fertilizer to support the agricultural sector. f. Identify opportunities for incorporating wastes from key economic sectors

It is suggested that a network of small wetland be developed to provide onsite wastewater processing for wineries. The needs of the salt industry are unclear and further research is required to recognize opportunities for benefit. g. Utilize existing infrastructure The proposed solution would use the existing wastewater networks of Montour Falls and Watkins Glen for conveyance, but replace existing plants with smaller pumping stations. This will allow prime lakefront real estate to be redeveloped. Solutions for Odessa and Burdett would provide support to the existing septic tank stock, so that these assets can still be used but without the problems that have historically existed. h. Provide capacity for economic growth goals The proposed solution enables wastewater infrastructure to be affordable. The modular approach will allow additional capacity to be easily installed in response to growth; thus removing the risk of over-investment. i. Eliminate discharge of secondary treated wastewater to Seneca Lake

The replacement of the existing Watkins Glen treatment plant will remove instances of direct discharge to Seneca Lake. The costed solution entirely involves subsurface discharge or discharge to the Catharine Marsh. The viability of the proposed discharge arrangements requires onsite investigation and mediation with NYSDEC. j. Use identified parcels of land where possible

The majority of the locations for proposed wastewater treatment plants are based on the outcomes of the Public Workshop. Suitable alternatives were proposed by the Schuyler County Watershed Inspectorate in the instances where proposed parcels were found to be unsuitable.


The proposed decentralized network of natural systems for Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, Odessa, Burdett, the un-serviced regions of Montour Falls, and Irelandville Landfill has an estimated capital requirement of $25.8 million ±30%, which can be invested in phases, and will provide 1,056,000 gpd of wastewater treatment capacity to the region. Considering capital and operational expense, the 50year cost of life-cycle and carbon footprint for the network have been estimated as $45.8 million ±30%, and 6,300 T CO2. This represents a savings on expenditure of 26% and a savings on CO2 emissions of 82% in comparison to the alternative centralized activated sludge system. We believe that further opportunities for sustainable wastewater infrastructure in the community include wastewater solids management, winery wastewater management and stormwater management. These opportunities require further investigation in conjunction with SCOPED, but they could be developed in tandem with the proposed municipal wastewater network.


Literature Cited

2000 US Census data National Ag Statistics Service cited in Schuyler County's Agriculture Economic Strategy, 2009 iii Hicks, Tim. April 2010, State of Individual Water Supplies and Wastewater Treatment Systems in Schuyler County: A Report on Water and Septic System Failures and the Financial Burden on Low to Moderate Income Property Owners iv Cornell Cooperative Extension Office, Schuyler County, NY With Project Consultation from Economic & Policy Resources, Inc., 2009, The Schuyler County Housing Needs Assessment. v Shepherd, H.L., Grismer, M.E. and Tchobanoglous, G., Treatment of High-Strength Winery Wastewater Using a Subsurface-Flow Constructed Wetland, Water Environment Research, Vol. 73, No. 4), pp. 394-403 vi Curtin University, AU, 2009, WineWatch Fact-Sheet Series, Fact Sheet 1 vii Schuyler County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan 2008 Supplemental Revision viii Schuyler County Water Quality Coordinating Committee and Thigpen, J., 2007, Schuyler County Water Resources Strategy ix Page 1 of 2004 Comprehensive Plan x Schuyler County Parcel Search xi Schuyler County Water/Wastewater Infrastructure Development Evaluation for Business and Economic Development, Hunt Engineers, Architects and Land Surveyors PC (2003) xii Schuyler County Water Quality Coordinating Committee and Thigpen, J., 2007, Schuyler County Water Resources Strategy xiii Schuyler County Water/Wastewater Infrastructure Development Evaluation for Business and Economic Development, Hunt Engineers, Architects and Land Surveyors PC (2003) xiv Shepstone Management Company and Cornell Cooperative Extension (2008), Schuyler County, New York, Agricultural Development And Farmland Protection Plan, Schuyler County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, Schuyler County, New York. xv Hicks, Tim. "State of Individual Water Supplies and Wastewater Treatment in Schuyler County: A Report on Water and Septic System Failures and the Financial Burden on Low- to Moderate-Income Property Owners". Schuyler County Watershed Protection Agency, April 2010. xvi Todd Ecological Inc., 2008, Preliminary Design Report, Irelandville Landfill Wastewater Treatment Plant Watkins Glen, NY xvii Schuyler County Water/Wastewater Infrastructure Development Evaluation for Business and Economic Development, Hunt Engineers, Architects and Land Surveyors PC (2003) xviii Kadlec and Wallace, Treatment Wetlands 2, 2009, CRC Press, Boca Raton Florida xix Salveson A., Zhou, Z., Finney B.A., Burke, M., Chan Ly, J., 2009, Low-Cost Treatment Technologies for Small-Scale Water Reclamation Plants, Water Reuse Foundation, Alexandria, VA. xx Green Infrastructure Strategy Presentation: xxi Low-cost Treatment Technologies for Small-Scale Water Reclamation Plant, Salveson et al. (2009), Water Reuse Foundation, Alexandria VA xxii Todd Ecological Inc., 2008, Preliminary Design Report, Irelandville Landfill Wastewater Treatment Plant Watkins Glen, NY xxiii Ibid. xxiv Schuyler County Water/Wastewater Infrastructure Development Evaluation for Business and Economic Development, Hunt Engineers, Architects and Land Surveyors PC (2003)

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