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Wallingford seeking bids for phosphorus treatment project

Wallingford seeking bids for phosphorus treatment project

reporter photo

WALLINGFORD — The town is currently seeking a contractor for wastewater treatment plant upgrades to reduce phosphorous discharge.

Bid are due May 7 and are scheduled to be opened two days later. 

Neil Amwake, Water and Sewer Division general manager, shared the update with the Public Utilities Commission during a meeting Tuesday. 

The town has to follow a strict timeline, including approval of funding, in order to maintain eligibility for a state grant covering 50 percent of costs, according to a memo from Bill Phelan, Public Utilities business manager.

The bid was advertised March 19 and a pre-bid conference took place March 26 at the wastewater treatment plant.

The funding ordinance request is slated to be submitted to PUC on May 10. Town Comptroller Jim Bowes received a draft March 20 for peer review and comments. 

The PUC is scheduled to hold a May 13 meeting to vote on recommending the funding ordinance to the Town Council.

The Town Council would meet the next day to set a May 28 public hearing. The Town Council could approve the ordinance after the public hearing.

Phelan said in the memo that “once bids are received, the funding ordinance (should) authorize an amount for the highest bid received in the event that lower bids are unacceptable or rejected.”

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection also needs to approve the bid before the town can award the contract and issue a purchase order, set for June 26.

The eligibility deadline for maximum state grant funding of 50 percent is June 28.

The $86 million project targets phosphorous discharge from the water pollution control facility, 155 John St., which is on a 153-acre site and empties into the Quinnipiac River. It also includes associated capital improvements.

The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a site plan in February after the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission granted a wetlands permit in December 2018.

Several towns, including Wallingford, are required by DEEP to perform upgrades to their wastewater plants to improve phosphorus removal systems.

Phosphorus is considered an environmental hazard because it causes algae bloom, which depletes oxygen in water bodies and poses a threat to wildlife, according to DEEP.

The new stricter limits take effect April 1, 2022.

Amwake has said there have been no significant upgrades to the plant since it opened in July 1989, other than adding a nitrogen removal process in 2005.

Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. has said he doesn’t believe phosphorus discharge is an immediate health or environmental threat, and believes the state should pay for the upgrades completely.
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