Phosphorous removal project underway

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

A groundbreaking ceremony took place at the Water Pollution Control Facility, Cronk Road, on Tuesday, Oct. 9, to celebrate the official commencement of work for the Water Pollution Control Facility Phosphorus Removal Project.

Superintendent of the facility, Joseph Alosso, explained there are two nutrients that affect water quality: nitrogen and phosphorus. This project will be targeting phosphorus. He said there was a nitrogen removal project in 2009.

“Any excess of either one of those two nutrients will cause algae blooms, which once they die off, they settle to the bottoms of the rivers, and they suffocate any aquatic life that’s living in the river. They also utilize oxygen to grow, just like any algae would,” said Alosso.

“This project doesn’t fall into the glamour projects, but what I can certainly say is, every single person in this town contributes to what goes on down here, so, it is important that we maintain and upgrade these facilities as we move along,” said Kathy Pugliese, chairwoman of the Plainville Town Council.

Pugliese also said the Town Council recently awarded a contract for construction work to Daniel O’Connell and Sons, based out of Holyoke, Mass.

“Special thanks to the State of Connecticut and federal funds that came through, and enabled us to get a 50 percent grant for some of the work that’s going to be done here,” said Pugliese.

Also present for the ceremony were representatives from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection members, including Denise Ruzicka, director of the Water Planning and Management Division of the Water Protection and Land Reuse Bureau.

“Plainville is ahead of the curve here… keeping your eye on the ball over the years, hiring a good consultant, and having a great superintendent.,” said Ruzicka. “The key goals of this project here… is new phosphorus limits.”

Paul Moran, a consultant with Tighe and Bond, the engineering firm chosen to facilitate the project, said one of the driving forces was the fast-approaching phosphorus limit. In order to address this limit, a “cloth media filtration system” will be installed. The system will  include a chemical that will react with the phosphorus, rendering it removable.

The removable phosphorus, Alosso said, will be removed, transported, and “sent off with our sludge to be incinerated at the Mattabassett District,” in Cromwell.

“You’re also upgrading your sludge processing system at the same time,” said Ruzicka. “You’re also installing some new sludge processing equipment in your former lime silo room to provide higher capacity, improve efficiency and reliability, and reduce your operation and maintenance cost.”

“Phosphorus is a nutrient that affects primarily freshwater bodies. It’s the limiting nutrient for controlling, mostly, plant growth in freshwater bodies,” said Moran. “Phosphorus does come from plenty of other sources as well, and so this limit has been established based on trying to reduce the phosphorus to an appropriate level.”

State Representative, Dr. Bill Petit, took a moment to thank the WPC facilities workers.

“When people look at public health advances, it’s been sanitation, it’s been clean water, that’s been one of the major strides over the last 120 years,” said Petit. “People will think it’s a vaccine or a specific medicine, but essentially, the access to have clean water to drink, clean water to bathe in, clean water for recreational purposes, is really close to the top of the list in terms of public health advances.”

A sign proclaims the new Water Pollution Control facility phosphorous removal upgrade. (JANELLE MORELLI)