Starting in August, 2004, the City of Cortland took over the operation of the wastewater treatment facility. The facility had been operated by private contractors since 1993, when the City hired ST Environmental in anticipation of a new treatment process with which the municipal staff was unfamiliar.
In March, 2004, the City notified its contract operator, Covanta Energy, that it would terminate its contract in 120 days. Cortland Finance Director Andy Damiano estimated potential savings of over $300,000. The savings will help offset the loss of revenue from the closing of the Buckbee Mears factory, which had been the largest single sewer rate-payer.
There were no staff changes as a result of the change. The City hired the entire staff of 10 which had been operating the facility for Covanta Energy. Six of the current staff had in fact worked for the City at the facility before it was privatized. The experience and training which the staff has gained under the direction of Chief Operator and Department Head Harvey Davis will allow the continuing efficient operation of the facility, recognized as one of the better-run and more innovative plants of its size in the region.