Niskayuna to treat soda waste, homeowners concerned


The Town of Niskayuna has a plan to turn old soda into new energy but doing so will involve big trucks driving on a quiet street.

The town has okayed a plan to process soda waste from the Pepsi plant in Latham at the Niskayuna wastewater facility, but homeowners are worried about what the move will mean for their dead-end road.

An 18 wheeler backs its way around a 90-degree turn and there’s an audience.

“This is not the first time I’ve seen this happen and I try to take videos as proof,” said Amy Howansky.

She lives in one of the eight homes on Whitmyer Road that leads to the Niskayuna wastewater treatment plant that will soon be treating soft drink waste and harnessing its energy.

“We would produce more than enough electricity and energy on site so we wouldn’t have to take any off the grid,” said Water and Sewer Superintendent Matt Yetto.  

“I’m always saying hey we have to be greener and we acknowledge that and we know that it’s good for the town, but it’s not good for us,” said Howansky

The three-month pilot contract will mean one truckload of waste per day and result in about 12 thousand dollars of revenue for the town, but neighbors like Betsy Neijman are convinced there will eventually be many more.
“There’s may be up to 12 a day with 24 back and fourths,” she said.

“They moved here not thinking there would be trucks up and down the road, so I completely understand where they’re coming from,” said Town Supervisor Yasmine Syed. She says after the three-month trial ends, each additional contract will have to be approved by the town.

“The goal would be to treat high strength waste so that there will be fewer trucks,” said Syed.

She also agrees the blind curve is concerning.

“That’s something that I hope we can address is fixing the road up there,” she said.

The yearly revenue from treating soda waste alone could top 200 thousand dollars. Nejman understands the benefits for the town but feels her concerns are falling on deaf ears.

“They may be being heard, but they’re certainly not listening to what we have said,” said Nejman.

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