Saratoga and Albany counties are looking to build a waste treatment facility that would—at the end of the line—convert the waste into energy that could be sold to other entities.
Plans were unveiled March 29 at an event attended by representatives of both county board of supervisors, as well as other officials.
The price tag for the waste-to-energy plant is estimated at $45 million and it would be located in the village of Menands, north of Albany and about eight miles sough of the Saratoga County town of Waterford.
Called an “anaerobic digester facility,” it would will primarily take in sewage sludge, but may also take food waste, fats, oils and grease that would act as a catalyst for processing.
Officials said in addition to selling power, the counties could save perhaps $1 million in annual biosolids disposal costs.
It will also cut down on greenhouse gases, said the New York State Energy & Research Development (NYSERDA).
The enregy-production part of the operation would not result in revenue until about two decades down the road. Another possible revenue source would be selling the solid waste byproduct as fertilizer.
An inter-municipal partnership agreement will allow for the establishment of a jointly-owned and operated regional biosolid waste facility. The agreement will cover the construction, operations and governance of the regional biosolids facility. It allows the counties to move forward with this project and begin the preliminary design stage.
It will be equally shared in use and cost between the two counties. According to NYSERDA, which provided half the funding for a project feasibility study last year, each county will be able to generate energy for a portion of its own consumption.
NYSERDA said each county will be saving more than $20 million over the next 20 years through this agreement.
Currently, Saratoga County spends approximately $2 million per year to haul biosolid waste from their facility, a method which is unsustainable in the long-term, officials said. It is expected to save Saratoga County money that would have been spent constructing its own facility to manage the waste processing.
“Saratoga County is the fastest growing county in New York state, and with that success comes the need to invest in upgrades to our infrastructure,” said Ed Kinowski, chairman of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors.”This shared services partnership with Albany County allows both counties to meet the needs of residents and do so in a cost-effective way. For residents of Saratoga County, this will help keep our sewer rates low, and continue to make our county the best place to live and work.”
Saratoga County hauls its biosolids for disposal at the Seneca Meadows Landfill, between Rochester and Syracuse.
Dan Rourke, executive director of Saratoga County Sewer District No. 1 said the facility “will improve our biosolid treatment process and reduce impact on the environment. By making these substantial upgrades to our infrastructure, we are better positioning Saratoga County for continued growth and doing so in an economically-efficient manner through this partnership with Albany County.”
A request for proposals for the design phase, expected to take about a year, will be issued in June. Final construction costs and timelines will be determined through the bidding process.
NYSERDA said the agreement “can be a model for other governments throughout the state who could find ways to work with neighboring governments to provide what’s best for their residents at a shared cost. This project is expected to reduce significant amounts of carbon emissions and allow for the solids to be classified as a ‘class B solid’ by the U.S. EPA, which can make them eligible for land application, instead of being directed for a landfill.”