“It has been over 10 years since the plan was updated, so it was definitely time,” said CSD President Kevin Graves. “We feel this will be a good guide to help us plan and budget for the future.”
The purpose of the plan is to identify existing deficiencies in the town’s current wastewater facilities and decide what accommodations need to be made now and into the future.
“Deficiencies in the wastewater facilities might include things like a lack of redundant equipment or process, or processes that are not working properly, or facilities that lack sufficient capacity to handle current or future wastewater flows,” said District Engineer Gregory Harris. “Once complete, the plan becomes a guide and policy document used by the town to properly plan the funding for and scheduling of needed facility improvements.”
Although the plan is still in its draft form, two major areas of concern – earmarked to cost $12.5 million – have already been identified.
“These areas include a lack of redundancy on the secondary treatment process at both wastewater treatment plants and a capacity shortfall in handling and processing solids,” said Harris. “To remedy this, the master plan is recommending building a third oxidation ditch and a fifth clarifier at plant No. 2.”
The plan also calls for adding additional belt presses and possibly an additional active solar dryer to improve the processing of solids at the plant.
“This is a critical issue,” said Graves. “And the board has addressed this matter and has authorized a $1.6 million project that will significantly reduce the backlog (of biosolids).”
The second issue of concern is the district’s need to continue implementing the salinity control plan.
“In 2010, the district exceeded its permit for electrical conductivity, which indirectly measures salinity,” said Harris. “The master plan identified source control as the most likely cost-effective measure to reducing salinity in the wastewater.”
According to Harris, the plan also looked at ways to treat salinity with processing equipment at the plant. But with a hefty price tag of more than $15 million for construction and an additional $1 million a year for operation, the board will continue to studying alternative options, including surveying local residents regarding their use of potential contributors to the problem, such as water softeners.
For now, though, Graves believes certain items should make it to the top of the board’s wish list. “Constructing the needed biosolids improvements is the first item that needs addressing,” he said. “And improving the reliability of the facilities with a third oxidation ditch to improve overall facility redundancy is a close second. Right now, if one of our two existing oxidation ditches require maintenance, we have only a few days worth of emergency storage facilities to accommodate the service interruption.”
A final version of the wastewater plan is expected to come before the CSD board early next year. Both the water and wastewater plans may be viewed online at www.townofdiscoverybay.org.