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Demolition Begins on Joint Sewage Treatment Plant

By Jason Weinstein.
The east and west portions of the Binghamton/Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Plant are being demolished over the next few weeks.

"This is the first massive step forward in the overall rehabilitation of an approximate $200 million project," said Binghamton Mayor Rich David.

The composting building on the east end, which has gone unused over the past few years, will house the nerve center for the new computerized plant. The plant's reconstruction is expected to be complete in 2018. The western building and adjoining wall which was damaged in the flood of 2011 are coming down to house the new BAF - or Biological Aerated Filter - treatment system.

"We're going to have to demolish that including all the foundations and rebuild a new facility. Some of the other facilities we can repurpose but that portion of the plant is going to be totally demolished," said City of Binghamton Engineer Gary Holmes.

The $200 million renovation of the plant is being funded by loans from the state's Environmental Facilities Corporation, FEMA reimbursement, and a lawsuit against construction and engineering firms Binghamton and Johnson City say are responsible for the wall collapse.

Binghamton Mayor Rich David says he can't say yet how much will come from FEMA and the lawsuit but estimates it's in the tens of millions of dollars, somewhat lessening the burden on those users in the eleven municipalities served by the plant.

"Conceivably the sewer portion of that bill could rise to pay the debt associated with this project," said David.

The loans from the state will need to be repaid. David said a short-term rate hike may be necessary.

"What we're looking at is how to phase in these increases so that the users aren't hit at one time," said David.