by bera dunau staff writer
The Daily Star
---- — U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand visited the State University of New York at Delhi on Wednesday to lend her support to the college’s proposed water conservation project.
Before her visit to SUNY Delhi, Gillibrand stopped by Hartwick College, where she touted her proposal to bring greater broadband access to rural areas, which was included in the version of the Farm Bill passed by the U.S. Senate this year.
Said Gillibrand at the event, “Expanding broadband access creates jobs and helps communities grow.”
Gillibrand’s proposal would add a new grant component to the broadband-loan program authorized by the Farm Bill.
Other speakers at Hartwick included Hartwick President Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich, Otsego County Chamber executive director Barbara Ann Heegan and Otsego County Board of Representatives Chairwoman Kathleen Clark.
The event at SUNY Delhi highlighted the college’s Energy Efficient Subsurface Disposal and Irrigation project.
The project was developed by the college’s Center of Excellence in Watershed Applications of Technology for Economic Revitalization (COE in WATER). It was conceived in response to the fact that the Village of Delhi’s waste-water treatment plant is approaching maximum capacity under current state permitting, while FrieslandCampina Domo and Saputo Dairy Foods, two major area companies, continue to grow and expand.
The project promises a solution to this dilemma by redirecting the discharge of treated effluent from the treatment plant away from the West Branch of the Delaware River. From there, the discharge would go to an infiltration basin before going to the SUNY Delhi campus, where it would be used for irrigation.
This project will allow an additional 200,000 gallons a day to be treated at Delhi’s treatment plant, and will serve as a national best practice for irrigation in water-restricted regions.
“Sen. Gillibrand, your support for the subsurface irrigation and disposal project is deeply appreciated,” said SUNY Delhi President Dr. Candace Vancko in introducing the senator.
Gillibrand highlighted the benefits the project will have for economic development and education and promised her support.
Said Gillibrand, “You have my commitment to work with our local leaders and to make sure this gets done so we can continue to develop the kind of creative solutions that really have an impact and really do make a difference.”
Others who spoke at the event were Lee Telega, New York State Director of USDA-Rural Development; James Thomson, chairman of the Delaware County Industrial Development Agency; and Liz Van Buren, manager at Saputo Dairy Foods USA.
Said Van Buren,”This project will help us with our plans to continue to expand the business.”
SUNY Delhi is seeking an additional $1 million for the project, and plans to break ground on it next spring.