One year later: New wastewater treatment facility in Naples is first of its kind in state

by Michael Schwartz

(WHAM) – Naples has a new facility that treats wastewater coming from the hundreds of homes in the village. Septic tanks have been used for years, but now wastewater will go through public sewer lines into this facility to then be cleaned before being pumped back out into the local waterways.

Michael Schwartz was there when plans were still being organized a year ago, and he returned to the now operating site on Tuesday.

Naples Mayor Brian Schenk said it’s the first of its kind facility that is sanctioned by the New York State Department of Environmental Conversation. Here how it works:

  • The wastewater comes from homes then is pushed through sewer lines into a facility that looks like a greenhouse on Ontario Street. 
  • Inside are 18 tanks with 45 Algae Wheels in each. 
  • Algae from the wastewater will build up on the wheels over the course of time. Schenk says this collection of algae will keep algae blooms from forming in Canandaigua Lake. He said often wastewater from septic tanks have leaked and polluted the water, but this new process will now replace septic tanks. The village is working on removing them.
  • The wastewater is then cleaned and sterilized with ultraviolet light. It’s water Schenk said he would drink.
  • Any sludge in the process Schenk says is filtered, then diverted to another machine in a separate building to be pressed and safely used in compost and landfill sites

Schenk said since the wastewater is filtered and cleaned, nothing coming out of it has to be treated with chemicals before going back into the environment. 

In the past, the village lost opportunity with businesses that couldn’t operate on septic tanks. Now this facility is not only reducing waste in natural waterways, but also helping business, according to Schenk. 

State leaders including the governor, Bob Duffy, and Senator Rich Funke all had roles in procuring funding for the project. Now Schenk said other towns in the state and country are looking at Naples as a model of their own systems.

Sixty percent of households in Naples are currently connected to this new facility. Schenk said the rest will join in Phase II of the project in 2022, with the addition of more Algae Wheels.

View the original article and news coverage on Fox Rochester

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