Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Plant – Sewage Operation Costs (2015M-213)

Issued Date
December 18, 2015

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine if sewage treatment services were provided economically for the period January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2014.


In 1965, the City of Binghamton and the Village of Johnson City entered into an intermunicipal agreement to establish a joint sewage activity whereby the City and the Village jointly own a sewage treatment plant and related facilities located in the Town of Vestal in Broome County. The plant provides services to City and Village residents and businesses and also to nine other municipal users. The plant is governed by a Joint Sewage Board comprising six members, three appointed by the City’s Mayor and three appointed by the Village Mayor. Budgeted appropriations for the plant’s operations totaled $11.3 million for 2015.

Key Findings

  • The quality of the discharged treated flow does not meet the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s regular permitted thresholds and as a result, DEC issued a consent order requiring construction of a new facility with a completion deadline of April 2017. If the new facility is not completed by the deadline, DEC could levy fines of $50,000 plus a maximum of $1,000 per day until the construction is completed.
  • The plant is not economically providing services to its customers.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure that the new facility is constructed by or before the DEC deadline to avoid any penalties or fines.
  • Continue to monitor sewage treatment costs, eliminate any unnecessary costs and reach out to other similar sewage facilities to identify additional opportunities to reduce costs.