The Port Washington Water Pollution Control District’s technology is out of date, Superintendent Windsor Kinney said.
The sewer system is mapped out on paper. Information is stored on index cards. Crews often have to return to the district’s office in order to get the data they need.
“It needed to be brought up to date,” Kinney said.
And it will, due to $18.8 million worth of bonds issued for the district by the Town of North Hempstead last month, he said.
Kinney said residents can expect their taxes to increase by $45 over five years, with the bonds only being activated after a bid had been accepted for a project.
Kinney said updates to the district’s technology will allow crew members to access information on-site through cloud computing.
“It will eliminate all these extra steps,” he said. “They can log in, look at a map, and when they touch a location on the screen they can get records when it was last cleaned, when it last had problems, and see the CCTV feed if we have it.”
Storing the information online instead of in filing cabinets will ensure it does not get lost, Kinney said.
“A lot of people are nearing retirement, and that knowledge we gained is going to be lost,” he said. “But this will make it more readily available for the young guys, who are more computer savvy.”
There will also be larger scale upgrades to the infrastructure. The district’s treatment plant, which saw its last major upgrade in 2009, will see its biosolids section updated.
“That [part of the plant] was installed in 1987 or 1988, and it’s at the end of its lifespan,” he said. “Technology has changed a lot since then.”
Valves and pumping stations will also be updated or replaced. Some 67 miles of pipes will be rehabilitated. Kinney added that much of the other infrastructure that’s being replaced was installed in 1990 and has outlived their 20-year lifespans.
He said these sort of projects, though necessary, were difficult to do without additional funding.
“We can’t increase the budget more than 2 percent per year, so we can’t budget for capital projects,” he said. “We put money away for emergencies but its never enough.”
The sewer district serves more than 25,000 people in the Port Washington area, including the Village of Port Washington North, parts of Flower Hill and Baxter Estates and unincorporated areas.
It also treats sewage collected by the Village of Manorhaven.