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Potsdam preps for major sewage plant upgrade

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POTSDAM — The village is preparing to begin a multimillion-dollar project to renovate its aging wastewater treatment program.

The village has hired Carrie M. Tuttle, director of engineering for the Development Authority of the North Country, to seek an engineering firm capable of designing and overseeing the upgrades.

Ms. Tuttle will help oversee the bidding process the village will use to select an engineer.

Construction on the project is still several years out, according to Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis.

The 45-year-old plant has long been in need of a major upgrade. When it was built, its projected life span was 30 years.

The plant purifies the contents of the village’s sewers, releasing clean water into the Raquette River.

The top priority is increasing energy efficiency by bringing many of the plant’s systems into the 21st century.

“Every technology we get is in the interest of reducing our energy costs,” plant Supervisor Robert M. Henninger said.

Many of the plant’s systems have not been updated since it was built in the 1960s.

It needs a new heating system and better purification processes, as well as more basic structural repairs to keep the building from falling into disrepair.

“We need another 45 years out if it, and the only way to do that is renovate it,” Mr. Henninger said.

According to Mr. Yurgartis, one of the most costly processes is hauling leftover sludge from the plant to a local farmer’s field, which costs the village about $160,000 a year.

The upgrade will include a process to remove more water from the sludge, to make it weigh less, and turn the rest into compost.

Mr. Yurgartis said it is too early to put any kind of specific price tag or timetable on the project.

“It will be millions,” he said. “It will be a major renovation.”

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