Weekly News Briefs: Illegal Dumping Causes Contamination at Treatment Plant

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On Feb. 15, plant operators at the Sugar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Charlotte, N.C., detected a strange odor in the wastewater, forcing the city to close the plant and divert wastewater to an isolated containment pond on plant property. After several tests, authorities identified the substance as ethanol, which they believe was dumped into city sewers by someone attempting to avoid disposal fees. 

Just one week earlier, the Mallard Creek Wastewater Plant in northeast Charlotte shut down for a day when workers noticed a sheen on the wastewater. That substance was identified as PCBs, which were also dumped into city sewers. Authorities are unsure if the incidents are related. “It appears to be coincidental, strangely coincidental,” says Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee.

Source: Charlotte Observer, "Ethanol Spill"Charlotte Observer, "Chemical Dumping"

Rhode Island Plant Plans Flood Protection
In 2010, the Pawtuxet River in Warwick, R.I., reached record flood levels, breached the earthen berm around the city’s wastewater treatment plant, and within hours, wiped out the facility. The disaster caused more than $13 million in damages, which is not an event the Warwick Sewer Authority hopes to repeat. To protect the plant, the authority plans to increase berm heights by about 7 feet. The project, which will also include some drainage improvements to the plant property, is expected to cost $5 million. “The floods that put the Warwick plant out of commission were devastating to our community,” says Mayor Scott Avedisian. “And since then, we have been working on a number of initiatives to try to better safeguard both the plant and individual pumping stations across the city.”

Source: Providence Journal

Grit Removal Focus of Plant Upgrade
As part of a $1.2 million upgrade, the wastewater treatment plant in Fulton, N.Y., will receive a grit removal upgrade, bringing the plant in compliance with a consent order issued by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The plant currently uses a bar screen, which will also be replaced as part of the upgrade package. The plant is not expected to go off line during the improvements.

Source: Oswego County Today

Salida Wastewater Treatment Facility Honored
The Salida Wastewater Treatment Facility received the 2013 Colorado Wastewater System of the Year Award from the Colorado Rural Water Association. The facility, which serves a population of 13,000, recently completed a plant upgrade that expanded the facility to a capacity of 2.7 mgd. The project included construction of new primary clarifiers, aeration basins, secondary clarifiers, digester covers, heat exchanger modifications, a new effluent pump station and more. “We really appreciate the award,” says Randy Sack, facility manager. “It makes us proud that our hard work has been recognized.”

Source: City of Salida


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