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Marcellus hosts open house for new composting plant Saturday

Plant operator Ryan Riefler, pictured inside the village of Marcellus Bio-solids Composting Facility, holds up freshly made compost. An open house is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 19.

Plant operator Ryan Riefler, pictured inside the village of Marcellus Bio-solids Composting Facility, holds up freshly made compost. An open house is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 19. Photo by Ned Campbell.

— The village of Marcellus’ Bio-solids Composting Facility was an investment — and for village residents, it’s already paying off.

Through an accelerated biological process, Marcellus wastewater plant operators Greg Crysler and Ryan Riefler have begun to create eco-friendly, grade A compost from the bio-solids that result from the treatment of the village’s waste. It’s available for pick-up at the plant on 6 Mile High Drive to all residents, “or sewer uses,” free of charge, Riefler said.

“Our compost will last two years as a natural fertilizer, whereas you go and buy something over the counter it will last you 90 days at best,” Riefler said.

An open house is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 19, when Riefler and Crysler will lead tours of the plant, answer residents’ questions, and help load compost for anyone who wants to take some home.

On Tuesday, seventh graders from Driver Middle School visited the plant to help mix the new compost into the village’s flower boxes in what Riefler says was the first of many educational efforts to come.

The plant, which cost the village an estimated $750,000 to build, is a sustainable solution to the increasing expenses involved with shipping bio-solids to a landfill. The annual expense for the village to ship the sludge to Seneca Meadows landfill was at around $50,000, “and going up each year with fuel and trucking costs,” Riefler said.

He estimates the new plant will cost the village no more than $5,000 yearly, and expects the project to pay for itself in seven to eight years — with help from a New York State Department of Conservation Recycling Grant that will cover half the project’s costs, or $375,000.

The plant, which produced its first pile of compost in early March, is the culmination of more than two years of research by the operators and was designed by the MRB Group engineering firm of Rochester

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