ITHACA, NY – Since at least 2008, Trumansburg has had an unpleasant problem: it’s outdated wastewater treatment plant would sometimes overflow, sending untreated sewage water down to the banks of Trumansburg Creek.

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After a series of eight overflows from 2008 to 2013, as reported by the Ithaca Journal, the village took steps to prevent more of them. However, a permanent solution was needed and in fact mandated by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

A creek in Trumansburg. (Photo: Doug Kerr)

Trumansburg Mayor Marty Petrovic said that the plant wasn’t up to standards, “both as a treatment plant and on environmental level.” Built in the 1960s, it had seen one upgrade in the 1990s, but was starting to show its age again.

Thanks to a $2 million state grant announced on Tuesday, Trumansburg is one big step closer to a much-needed upgrade to the plant that will come in on time and with a smaller hit to resident’s pockets.

The project was slated to cost $6 million, some of which the town was planning to borrow – and ultimately have to pay back through the users who pay for water and sewer service. The grant takes a significant bite out of that debt.

“Trumansburg Creek will be cleaner, and there will be less risk to the environment,” said Petrovic, “Users will see an increase in their bill, but the grant will help with that.”

Construction began in September, and Petrovic says they are about 25 percent of the way there. The upgrades are scheduled to finish this summer.

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Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.