Sewage treatment


When completed, HRVR's development will generate an estimated 90,000 gallons of sewage (they use the term 'wastewater') per day.  The Town sewage treatment plant is running at 85% of capacity under normal conditions, which provides a small operating margin for periods of higher flow, leaving no room to add additional users.  In addition, the cost of connecting to the Town plant, via a pipeline down Binnewater Road, has been deemed by HRVR to be prohibitive.  Instead, they have elected to construct their own sewage treatment plant to serve the development.

Details on the proposed plant are available in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, appendix K.14, with an addendum in Appendix K.19.  DEC has required that the outflow, or 'effluent', from the sewage plant must meet Intermittent Stream Effluent Limits (ISEL), the most rigorous standards enforced by New York State, deemed suitable for discharge into a stream that at times contains no natural water flow (hence is intermittent).  The plan is to discharge the effluent into a stream (NYS H-139-14-5) at the intersection of Binnewater and Breezy Hill roads.  This stream runs south alternately along both sides of Binnewater Road and into the Rondout creek just upstream of the Rosendale trestle, as shown in the following map.  This is a Class C stream, which means that it must be kept suitable for fish, shellfish, and wildlife propagation and survival and "shall be suitable for primary and secondary contact recreation." (DEC regulation §701.8).  Primary contact recreation is any activity involving the potential for ingestion of, or immersion in, water, such as swimming, while secondary contact applies when immersion is unlikely, such as boating.

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The actual limits on various parameters that the effluent must meet are specified in the SPDES Discharge Permit issued by DEC on 24 Mar 2014.

In order to operate a private sewage treatment plant, HRVR was required to form a Sewage Works Corporation (NY Transportation Corporation law, Article 10).  To do this, they were first required to obtain the consent of the Town of Rosendale.  The Town gave its conditional consent on 9 Oct 2013 and the Williams Lake Sewage-Works Corporation was formed on 25 Nov 2013, even though the conditions specified in the consent had not been met.  The Town, in turn, is required to obtain "a reasonable guaranty from the corporation that said corporation will continue to maintain and operate the system for a period of at least five years".  The guaranty is usually in the form of a posted bond.  This protects the Town in the event that the corporation gets into financial trouble and can no longer maintain the system.  As an additional protection, the corporation must place its stock in escrow.  Should the corporation later fail, ownership of the stock would pass to the Town, which would take over operation of the sewage plant until it can be sold to another agency.  During such a period, the Town would have the authority to tax the users of the system in order to keep it running.  A public hearing on a proposed agreement between the Corporation and the Town, addressing these matters, was conducted on 9 Jul 2014.

Among the powers granted to a Sewage Works Corporation is the right to place its pipes and other facilities wherever necessary for its purposes and, if it cannot agree with an owner on terms of purchase, to acquire the necessary land by condemnation.  HRVR has been granted an easement by the Wallkill Valley Land Trust that allows the discharge pipe from their sewage treatment plant to reach the Binnewater Road - Breezy Hill Road intersection underground along the rail trail; there is no indication that they currently intend to use the condemnation power.

Last updated 11 Jul 2014.

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