Following complaints about bad smells from the Saugerties sewer plant, the operators removed the cover of a digester and found it was not working properly and needed to be pumped out. Village of Saugerties trustee Donald Hackett said at the Village Board meeting on Monday, November 21 that the digester is being pumped out at a cost of 25 cents per gallon. During the past several years, the village has collected 30,000 to 40,000 gallons of heavy sludge in the 105,000-gallon tank that has not been working properly.
The sewer plant has a second tank, Hackett said at the meeting, which will be opened and checked out after the first tank is completed. “Once we get the sludge out, we can check it out and see why it hasn’t been working,” Then it can be repaired. The village won’t know whether the second tank also is not working properly until the cover is removed.
Hackett said that the village had a large crane come in to remove the tank cover and it will return to replace the cover once the sludge is cleared out and the tank is repaired. Then the cover will be removed from the second tank.
At the meeting the board voted to appropriate $20,000 for the cleanout, which the board agreed to increase to $25,000, to be taken from ARPA [American Rescue Plan Act] funds. The board also agreed to allocate $30,000 for the cleanout of a second tank, which has not yet been uncovered. The fund still has $100,000 left, after the $60,000 for the wastewater plant.
The board also agreed that one tank should be inspected every five years to be sure they are operating properly and prevent the buildup of sludge.
Mayor Bill Murphy complimented Hackett and the plant operators for their work in tracking down the problem and expressed hope that repairs and regular maintenance of the digesters would eliminate or greatly reduce the odors.
Hackett complimented Water Superintendent Mike Hopf, interim plant supervisor Joe Myers and a new employee, Serena Augustine, for improving conditions in the plant. “It’s a whole different world, it’s nicer and cleaner and happier.”
Following the meeting, Hackett said he would like to see the sewer plant converted to operate on methane, which is a byproduct of the sewage decomposition, rather than natural gas, which the village has to pay for. The conversion could be fairly expensive, he said, but the long-run savings would be considerable.