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Greenidge Completes Installation of Wedge Wire Screens in Seneca Lake


Installation of the cylindrical wedge wire screens in Seneca Lake at the water intake system for Greenidge Generation is complete. The cryptocurrency data center and power generation company said the installation’s completion represents another critical milestone in its extensive efforts to meet or exceed all of New York’s environmental standards.

Greenidge began work on the project in 2017, shortly after receiving a water discharge permit from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Greenidge was required to meet strict deadlines established by DEC over the course of the project, including years of detailed study, comprehensive sampling, a pilot study, development of a verification monitoring plan and more.

Last month Seneca Lake Guardian, an outspoken critic of Greenidge, claimed the screens installed will only be 77 percent effective in protecting the lake’s aquatic life. Greenidge says not only did the DEC approve the plan, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also reviewed relevant components and approved it.

According to a release from Greenidge, it met or exceeded all government deadlines throughout the extensive regulatory process and only was permitted to complete the installation of the wedge wire screens after final State and Federal approvals were granted on September 26, 2022, and October 7, 2022, respectively.

Greenidge has invested more than $6 million to complete the study, design and installation processes required to complete the wedge wire screen project, which reflect the Best Technology Available according to DEC, and other Greenidge State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit requirements.

The construction work was completed by local union labor, including members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 840, Dockbuilders and Timbermen Local 1556, Carpenters Western New York Local Union 276, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 158 & 150 and Millwrights Local 1163.

“On behalf of our team, and the dozens of union members who got the job done, we’re proud of the time, energy, effort and financial investment it took to get the wedge wire screens installed to further protect the lake we all love,” said Greenidge Generation President Dale Irwin. “Our team is all from this area, and most, like me, grew up with this lake as central to their lives, and we care deeply about the health of Seneca Lake. After 80 years of this facility taking in water from different owners, we are thrilled to be the company to add this protection and deliver on a promise we made when we first decided to invest in Yates County. We’ve all seen and read ridiculous claims from opponents on this topic, but the proof is here and indisputable – the screens are in and we spent the money and made the effort to get it done.

“We look forward to whatever our opposition’s next false panic campaign is and shooting that down as well.”

Intake Screens, Inc. (ISI), a Sacramento, California-based company, designed and manufactured the wedge wire screen system found at the Greenidge facility. John Burnett, Director at ISI, stated, “The Greenidge wedge wire screen system is the largest fish protection screen system with this small of a screen opening found anywhere in the world and we think this system represents the future of fish protection at water intakes.”

“The installation of the wedge wire screens represents a major step toward protecting our aquatic wildlife and speaks to the commitment Greenidge has made to Yates County,” said Leslie Church, Chairwoman, Yates County Legislature. “Greenidge is proof positive that we can create economic growth for our county and provide quality jobs while protecting our environmental treasurers. We are grateful to Greenidge for their five-year effort to make these screens a reality, and thank them for their ongoing support of our friends, neighbors and businesses.”

“Greenidge Generation has accomplished something that hasn’t been done for more than 80 years of operations and water intake at the facility: installing state-of-the-art screens to further protect the health and well-being of our aquatic life,” said Peter Martini, Supervisor, Town of Torrey, NY. “Since Greenidge made the investment and commitment to our town, the facility is being utilized, local people are being hired for high-quality jobs, local businesses are partnering with Greenidge and we have a good employer who has delivered on every promise — environmentally and economically — contributing to our township. The completion of the wedge water screens is yet another example of how Greenidge has been an excellent partner for our community.”

“Over the course of the past eight years, Greenidge has been a responsible and contributing part of this community,” said Bill Hall, Mayor, Village of Dresden, NY. “The thorough approach they took to investing in and installing high-tech screens to protect our local ecosystem goes to show that Greenidge is committed to protecting Seneca Lake and helping to bring our region’s economy into the 21st century. On behalf of the constituents of Dresden, we are grateful for Greenidge and its positive impact on our community.”

“When companies such as Greenidge Generation put in the work and dollars to keep our fish and wildlife protected, it’s a great thing,” said Jeff Dean, a lifelong Dresden fisherman in Seneca Lake and the Keuka Outlet. “I wish more companies would follow suit.”

History of Greenidge’s SPDES requirements, including the installation of the wedge wire screens, is below:

State requirement:

  • Within six months of the effective date of the permit (October 1, 2017), the permittee must submit an approvable Cylindrical Wedge-Wire Screen Pilot Study Plan. 
  • Submitted in March 2018. 

State requirement:

  • Within two years of the effective date of the permit (October 1, 2017), the permittee must complete the installation of the variable speed drives on the cooling water pumps at the Greenidge Station. 
  • Variable Speed Drive installed in June 2019. 

State requirement:

  • PILOT Study Final Report. 
  • The final report on the Cylindrical Wedge-Wire Screen Pilot Study was submitted pursuant to the NYSDEC-approved schedule in April 2020. 

State requirement:

  • Within three months of receiving Department approval of the final Cylindrical Wedge-Wire Screen Study Report (approval was in August 2020), the permittee must submit an approvable Technology Installation and Operation Plan to meet the best technology available requirements under 6 NYCRR Part 704.5 and Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). 
  • Submitted November 2020. 

State requirement:

  • Within three months of the Department’s approval of the Technology Installation and Operation Plan (approval was in 12/22/2020), the permittee must submit an approvable Verification Monitoring Plan. This plan must include details of procedures to confirm that the necessary reductions in impingement and entrainment required by this permit are being achieved. 
  • Submitted March 2021. 

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