On Monday, Sept. 26, the village of Marcellus Board of Trustees awarded bids for its composting project, set to be completed by the first of the year.
Marcellus Waste Water Treatment Plant operators, Greg Crysler and Ryan Riefler, outlined in a Nov. 4, 2010 proposal letter to the board and Mayor John Curtin, considering the compost project and the benefits it serves to the community. Currently, the village’s wastewater treatment plant dewaters its sludge, or biosolids, with a BDP belt filter press and contracts with WeCare to haul the dewatered sludge to Seneca Meadows landfill.
“In the 18 years that I have been here,” Crysler said, “the end product, which is the biosolids, has to go somewhere. That part has always been a hassle for us.”
The Marcellus Waste Water Treatment Plant tried a few options including hauling the sludge or “cake” to Syracuse Metro, Auburn and Seneca Meadows without much success in terms of cost and sufficiency.
Fear and uncertainty of being one “Seneca Meadows letter away” from hauling the sludge a greater distance for land application, or a return to hauling it “wet” to Metro, prompted the two men to act and thus, put the wheels in motion for a cost-cutting, more environmentally sound project.
New York Rural Water, which helps small municipalities, approached the Marcellus Waste Water Treatment plant operators and suggested that they it look into composting as an alternative option.
“We ended up going to a couple of treating plants,” Crysler said, “and the people we talked to had the same problem— how to get rid of the end product. We decided this was our best avenue and that we could get rid of [the sludge] for no cost. Once we get all the equipment up and running it will pay for itself.”
The village applied for a Grant from the Department of Environmental Conservation, which will pay for roughly half of the $750,000 project, leaving the other half to be paid for by the village, using monies saved from not having to haul the sludge.
“Over the next 12 to 15 years,” Crysler said, “we can have the whole thing paid off and hopefully keep going.”
Instead of bringing the waste to a landfill, Crysler notes, he likes the idea of reusing, most notably using the compost as the replacement for fertilizer for planting use.
“What we are going to do is give it to the residents for nothing,” Crysler said. “Then, if there is some left over; we are going to give it to the landscapers and contractors. From what we have been told, it makes a huge difference with trees, shrubs and flowers. You can use it for anything except on vegetable gardens.”
Upon completion, the village of Marcellus will become the first such composting project in Onondaga County, a move Mayor John Curtin says, could be quite significant for the County.
“We can be an example for others to follow, especially for Metro,” Curtin said. “This is not only a terrific cost saving measure, but also helps to promote a more environmentally safer way to get rid of the cake.”