CDPA Tour of the Albany County Sewer District North Treatment Plant

First off – a big “THANK YOU” to Albany County Sewer District Executive Director Rich Lyons and his staff for welcoming our group and taking the time to lead us on a guided tour of the ACSD North Treatment Plant Facility.

Before setting out on foot to tour the plant, the tour’s participants viewed a presentation about the history of the facility, went over a sort of “plant operations 101,” and learned what environmental polices led to the plant’s construction and various improvements. Attendees learned about how natural resource recovery impacts the health of the Hudson River, how environmental regulations impact operations, and what innovative technologies are being employed at the North and South District plants. Participants were then provided with a narrated walking tour through the plant’s various stages of wastewater treatment stopping at a rack that removed large solids from the system, a series of 5 pumps capable of pumping more than 100 million daily gallons of effluent, a primary clarification system where sludge is removed before it is sent to an incinerator, secondary clarification in which sludge is digested by microorganisms, final clarification in which remaining sludge is ‘vacuumed’ up, chlorine disinfection, and then finally an innovative power generation plant capable of converting waste heat produced by the incinerator to produce electricity that could satisfy half of the plant’s energy needs. During the tour the group discussed stormwater management techniques and the impact of climate change on the facility, how regional planning is being implemented to address combined sewer overflows, and the programs and partnerships (many uncelebrated) that save taxpayers millions of dollars by literally creating value from waste product.

For those folks that missed the tour, a few photos are below. Honestly, this was a fun experience (one attendee equated it to being at Disney); the technology, science, and the ingenuity behind the  operations that 99% of the general public takes for granted had folks awe-struck.

Racks

These racks at the ‪Albany‬ County Sewer District’s north plant pull tons of nasty solid material from wastewater prior to treatment.

These are 5 huge pumps have the ability to move more than 100 million gallons of effluent in a single day.

These are 5 huge pumps have the ability to move more than 100 million gallons of effluent in a single day.

In secondary treatment, bacteria feasts on the organic solids in wastewater, a natural process sped up by man-made engineering ingenuity.

In secondary treatment, bacteria feasts on the organic solids in wastewater, a natural process sped up by man-made engineering ingenuity.

After final treatment the effluent is disinfected and then dechlorinated.

After final treatment the effluent is disinfected and then dechlorinated.

Treated wastewater is then discharged.

Treated wastewater is then discharged.

Our next event will take place on Saturday, May 9th. Click here to register for “Past, present, and future multi-use trail connections along the Hudson River’s western shore.”