Wallingford council approves adding $600,000 for sewer facility plan

Wallingford council approves adding $600,000 for sewer facility plan


WALLINGFORD — The Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a $600,000 budget amendment requested by the Sewer Division for a study to examine the town’s wastewater treatment plant.

The Sewer Division is preparing a study, called a facility plan, for “anticipated changes in the permitted phosphorus discharge” allowed by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, according to a memo written by Neil Amwake, general manager of the Water and Sewer Divisions.

“The town’s wastewater treatment plan has been in continuous operation for more than 28 years with no comprehensive study undertaken in that time period to thoroughly review, assess and evaluate the equipment or processes,” Amwake said in the memo, which was sent last month to Public Utilities Director Richard Hendershot.

The plan has two phases. The first includes studies of three phosphorus treatment technologies, according to Amwake’s memo. The second involves a comprehensive evaluation of the existing wastewater treatment facility, including structures, equipment and processes.

“There are aspects and parts of the plant that really need to be repaired and replaced as anyone would expect after that length of time,” Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said.

In December 2015, the Sewer Division budgeted $500,000 in its 2016-17 capital budget for the wastewater facility plan. That amount is augmented by the $600,000 approved by the council.

The total cost of the facility plan is estimated at just under $1.1 million. The town is eligible for a state grant for 55 percent of the cost.

“With a 55 percent reimbursement grant, the town will be eligible to receive reimbursement of $605,000 once construction is initiated, resulting in a net cost to prepare the facility plan of approximately $495,000; an amount nearly equal with the original budget appropriation,” Amwake’s memo stated.

The levels of phosphorus discharge from the wastewater facility are regulated by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued by DEEP, the memo said. It is anticipated that DEEP will issue a draft renewal permit in April 2018 with lower levels of permitted phosphorus discharge.

Phosphorus is naturally present in human waste but is also added to drinking water as an anti-corrosive for pipes to eliminate lead contamination. Phosphorus is considered an environmental hazard because it causes algae blooms, which depletes oxygen in water bodies and poses a threat to wildlife.

Wallingford is one of 11 municipalities in Connecticut that have been or will be issued “discharge permits for total phosphorus at or below an average monthly concentration of .31 mg/L,” according to the memo. Wallingford’s maximum level of phosphorus discharge will lower from .70 mg/L to .31 mg/L.

These 11 municipalities are eligible to receive a grant for 50 percent of the design and construction costs for the phosphorus removal project, provided that they enter a construction contract for the project prior to July 1, 2019.

If the town doesn’t enter a contract prior to that date, the grant would only cover 30 percent of the project costs.

“Time is of the essence,” Hendershot told the Town Council Tuesday.

Twitter: @MatthewZabierek


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