Village of Marathon’s wastewater plant project on track

(Photo Source: Village of Marathon Facebook page)

Village of Marathon Board of Trustees members and wastewater plant overseers see eye-to-eye. They both see funding for the revitalization project of the plant as a blessing.

The village of Marathon recently announced they’d be receiving about $3.5 million in federal funds secured by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Now, they are putting out qualification requests for engineers who can help reinvigorate the old plant.

A request for qualifications (RFQ) is defined in New York as a document asking potential vendors or suppliers to provide details on their background and experience in supplying a good or service.

“We will have a package to send out to people who respond to the RFQ. I will send it to engineering firms,” said Village mayor Scott Chamberlin at a recent village board meeting. “We can set a deadline of March 15.”

The updates and overhauls to the plant would be substantial, Chamberlin has said at previous meetings. Upgrades will be focused on the structure itself, along with the various pump stations around the village. Additional equipment, he said, will be put into place to speed up the operation and process waste faster, increasing plant capacity.

The plant has received no major upgrades since it was built in the 1970s. There has been a need for critical renovations for the last eight to 10 years.

Wastewater plant manager Mike Root said improvements to the plant should not wait much longer.

“Everything is falling apart, worse and worse every day,” Root said. “The tanks and the concrete are getting worse this year since it is a little warmer than normal. There is no water leakage yet, but it is getting pretty bad.”

The village has about 80 percent of the project completely funded, Chamberlin said.

“Things have changed since our last engineering report,” he said, noting that the village may have to address the presence of phosphorus and nitrogen.

The removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater has become an emerging worldwide concern because these compounds cause nearby natural water to fill up with minerals and nutrients, according to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Nitrogen can pose a risk to human health, especially as a possible cause of a type of anemia in children, according to the journal.

“It is going to cost a lot to build the setup for this treatment and then you have the maintenance for the year, and later buying chemicals to treat phosphorus and nitrogen,” Root said. “It gets expensive. That plant is almost chemical free, it is almost like a natural treatment, which I personally love.”