Weekly News Briefs: Winter-Weary Town Experiences Increased Water Flow

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Deep frost lines in northern Wisconsin, which have plagued municipal water pipes for months, are now affecting wastewater treatment plants. In Eagle River, Wis., residents have been asked to trickle water to prevent frozen pipes. The extra running water means the wastewater treatment plant is seeing water use more typical of July, when the town is bursting with summer tourists.

“What we’re seeing is excessive flows,” says Kevin Brewster, Eagle River Water Treatment Plant supervisor. “We have the capacity to handle this kind of flow, but … we’re seeing a diluted amount of nutrients coming in so that slows everything down as far as the treatment efficiency processes.”

The frost line in Eagle River is currently 8 feet deep. The region experienced the coldest winter on record, second only to Winter 1916-17.

Source: WJFW, Channel 12

Plant Renovation Ends With Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
After several years of construction, Newberry, Fla, celebrated the completion of a wastewater treatment plant upgrade that expanded the facility’s capacity from 350,000 gpd to 560,000 gpd. The project, which was budgeted at $2.8 million, came in under budget by $80,000 to $100,000. Along with a new treatment plant and upgrades to two existing plants, the city purchased 14.5 acres for spray fields and 23 acres for biosolids application. With these additions, the city has planned for growth. “Sewage is something that’s very difficult for small towns to deal with,” says Newberry Mayor Bill Conrad. The mayor hopes the improved infrastructure will appeal to new businesses as well as protect water quality. “It was great foresight by the city management,” Conrad says.

Source: Alachua County Today

Iowa Industrial Plants Report Wastewater Spills
Two companies reported wastewater spills to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources this past week. Cargill Meat Solutions Plant in Ottumwa stated that about 20,000 gallons of untreated wastewater spilled into the Des Moines River. A short in a power panel caused wastewater to back up and bypass the industrial treatment system. The second spill occurred at a cheese processing plant in Hull, where 2,100 gallons of sludge flowed about three-eighths of a mile before stopping about four miles upstream of the West Branch of the Floyd River. The spill occurred after an alarm failed in the plant. The DNR will monitor the situation and assess whether enforcement action is needed.

Source: Des Moines Register

Cost-Effective Test Screens Biosolids for Contaminants
A research team from Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering reported a new method for screening biosolids for chemicals that are typically too cost-prohibitive to monitor. “Because we’re finding many emerging contaminants in biosolids, we wanted to develop a method where you could check them quickly and efficiently and flag the most dangerous ones for more complex measurements,” says Ryan Holzem, a Duke graduate student and author of the study. The new technique involves growing Paracoccus denitrificans, a bacterium that is critical to the nitrogen cycle. Researches then added chemicals and monitored how each sample affected the denitrification process. The technique is more sensitive than expensive tests that measure gene expression and cell viability. The results and testing methods were published in the Feb. 4 issue of Journal of Environmental Science & Technology.

Source: Environmental Research Web

Plant Upgrades to Decrease Nitrogen Discharge
Nitrogen discharge is the focus of a proposed plant upgrade at the Newington Wastewater Treatment Plant in Maine. Voters will soon decide on a proposed $8 million upgrade that will allow the plant to decrease discharge levels from 8 mg/L to 5 mg/L and possibly 3 mg/L. “We will be using existing tank structures, with old equipment taken out and new equipment installed,” says Plant Manager Denis Messier. As part of the upgrades, the facility will hold wastewater during the day and discharge at night with outgoing tide levels. This scenario prevents even more nitrogen from entering the bay. “If it doesn’t get passed we’ll be here again,” Messier says. The Newington plant was selected as a first-place winner of the U.S. EPA’s National Clean Water Act Recognition Award in 2005.

 Source: Seacoast Online



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