Monroe County spending millions on water treatment upgrades

Dec 4, 2018

Mike Garland shows how water is tested in the wastewater treatment plant before being released back into Lake Ontario.

Monroe County’s waste water treatment plant is getting $28 million in upgrades and improvements, partially in response to several years of violations with state and federal environmental standards.

Ever since the Frank Van Lare water treatment plant underwent extensive upgrades from 2011 to 2015, it has had a series of violations for discharging too much sewage waste into Lake Ontario.

The original upgrades were intended to make the plant more energy efficient, but Director of Environmental Services Mike Garland says they noticed problems almost immediately.

"For all intents and purposes," he said via phone, "the plant was sick and we needed to find a solution."

The treatment plant has been cited by the EPA numerous times and was fined earlier this year. Garland says many of the upgrades in the scope of the project were already planned, and they county will be salvaging what they can from the existing system.

The violations have not caused significant harm to Lake Ontario according to environmental experts.