By JIM AUSTIN
Elected representatives and agency officials were on hand Friday morning at the wastewater treatment plant to make the formal announcement of a quarter- million-dollar grant the village will receive.
The federal funds, which come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will be used to install new equipment at the wastewater treatment plant to pump the facility’s effluent to reconstructed wetlands, providing a longterm, sustainable treatment process.
According to the state Environmental Facilities Corp., the project will save the village an estimated $30,000 per year in operational and maintenance costs and further improve the water quality of the Susquehanna River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay through significantly cleaner discharges that reduce nutrient pollution levels.
State Environmental Facilities Corp. Acting President Matthew Millea, who lived in Cooperstown until he was eight-years old, said, ``Each Green Innovation Grant Project represents a step towards building a `green’ industry and sustainable water treatment network in New York state. I want to commend the village of Cooperstown for their determination and vision to submit this innovative project to the Green Innovation Grant Program.’’
In acknowledging the grant, Mayor Carol Waller focused on the members of the village staff who worked with engineers to create the project and the successful grant application, and Dr. Theodore Peters, who has served on the sewer and water boards for a total of 35 years.
``I am pleased that the village of Cooperstown’s innovative project for waste water treatment was given this grant. It is through the hard work and extra efforts of the village staff, especially our Clerk, Teri Barown, our Senior Water Plant Supervisor John Cankar and our volunteer consultant for our sanitation system, Dr. Ted Peters, that this project can be put into place and save the residents from extensive and expensive renovations to this plant,’’ Waller said.
``Each of these people played an important part in this grant process, but I want to single out Dr. Peters for his continued expert advice, intense interest and hard work on behalf of our village, all as a volunteer.’’ Peters said the village and its plant operators are already doing a good job producing an effluent which exceeds current standards.
``We’re doing a fine job with this 40-year-old plant.
``I am glad to see that Cooperstown has received these federal dollars to protect their water supply because addressing the needs of our region’s aging infrastructure is critical to our economic and environmental success now and in the future,” U.S. Rep. Michael Arcuri said in a statement read by his Deputy Director Pete Scalise.
State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Environmental Facilities Corporation Board Chairman Pete Grannis was represented by DEC Region Four Director Gene Kelly, who commented, “Cooperstown is demonstrating what it means to be a green leader by implementing infrastructure improvements that go beyond the status quo and will result in significant environmental benefits.’’
State Sen. James Seward also attended and admitted he had mixed feelings about the federal stimulus program, but this project ``was an excellent use of stimulus funds.’’
Seward went on to say, ``As the headwaters of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay, the Village of Cooperstown takes water quality very seriously. This forward-thinking project safeguards our vital environmental resources while at the same time protecting the bottom line for local taxpayers.’’
The recently-inaugurated Green Innovation Grant Program supports up to 90 percent of eligible project costs for the installation of innovative, cost-cutting solutions for progressive water conservation, energy-efficient technologies to clean water infrastructure.
The State Environmental Facilities Corporation received nearly 300 applications totaling approximately $468 million in grant requests.