Woodbury: Use solar power at city plant

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Director of Public Works Randy Woodbury discusses the renewable energy options for the Dunkirk Wastewater Plant Wednesday.

Solar energy is the way to go — not wind, according to Director of Public Works Randy Woodbury.

“After reviewing a couple of wind studies at the wastewater plant and the savings, if everything worked out right, we’d save about $10,000 a month. However because of the cost of the unit it would take 40 years for a payback,” Woodbury said at a recent Public Works Committee meeting.

Woodbury believes that the cost wouldn’t be prudent as there’s no piece of machinery, in his eyes, that lasts for 40 years.

“The cost effectiveness for wind at just the wastewater plant, at this point, is not something I’m going to ask Gus (Maas, consulting engineer out of GPI) to take a look at,” Woodbury added.

Woodbury discussed some other options with Mayor Wilfred Rosas in regards to the $9 million Environmental Facilities Corporation grant the city was awarded in 2017, and it looks to them that solar is a more viable option.

“We want to reprogram the grant with a different set of options, we don’t want to borrow any more money,” Woodbury said. “The mayor and I and others have decided that rather than building a new main pump station, we’re going to rebuild what we have, at a lower cost, and put the money into some of the other peripheral things that are still broken.”

These things include replacing pump number four at the main pump station located on the south side of Lakeshore Drive, replacing the roof there with a slanted one for better drainage and adding the solar panels. By doing this instead it frees up grant money to also replace the turned off water line on Lucas Avenue.

“We want to replace the water line next to the old AlTech building,” Woodbury stated. “That line had to be shut off due to contamination, but it has to be replaced. It’s a secondary yet essential artery to and from the high school that also could feed the North County Water District towards Brocton.”

Woodbury cited, however, that due to the contamination the city wants to keep the line away from the Brownfield site there.

“Instead of putting it back on Lucas Avenue, we would put it on West Seventh Street which is in need of a larger water line also, it doesn’t have any fire protection there; so it’d be a win win for everyone,” he added.

Preliminary approval to reprogram the grant by the New York State Department of Health, which administers it, has already been given.