Garbage in Wallingford wastewater system could cost thousands in repairs

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WALLINGFORD — Repairs may cost more than $100,000 after sandpaper was found lodged in the town wastewater treatment plant system last month.

On Sept. 25, after plant employees had left for the day, an automatic alarm alerted the on-call operator to a blockage, Public Utilities Director Richard Hendershot said Tuesday.

The flow of storm water, which was more than usual from heavy rain, backed up and flooded a section of the plant.

Hendershot said the estimated cost of the cleanup, including materials and labor, is around $100,000 to $150,000.

He said the material that clogged the system was a belt sander-type material, 50 feet to 80 feet in length and several inches in width.

The Public Utilities Commission discussed the incident on Oct. 2. According to the meeting minutes, staff doesn’t know how or where the sandpaper entered the system.

The plant informed the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the town Water Division and Public Works departments assisted during the incident.

The meeting minutes state that, traditionally, the plant operated on a single shift, but plant workers worked extended hours with some overtime.

The plant remains fully operational, Hendershot said.


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