March 19, 2012
The public is invited to an open house at the Peirce Island Wastewater Treatment Plant on Saturday, March 31, to learn more about the facility and an ongoing pilot study of potential technologies for providing mandated secondary treatment of wastewater.
The event will be a unique opportunity for the public to be part of the City's effort to further educate citizens about Portsmouth's wastewater treatment program. City staff and the pilot project engineers will be available to answer questions from 9 a.m. until noon at the 48-year-old facility located at the tip of Peirce Island.
As part of the ongoing Wastewater Master Plan effort, the City is conducting an engineering pilot study to test a number of treatment technologies in side-by-side comparison tests for effectiveness in treating the City's wastewater. The information will be used to select the most cost-effective and sustainable technology that will serve as the basis for designing the plant upgrades required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
This event is intended to give the City Council and the public an understanding of this complex and critical piece of the City's infrastructure. The future upgrade to the Peirce Island Treatment Facility will likely be the largest public works project in the City's history.
The Peirce Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, built in 1964 and upgraded in 1991 and 2002, treats 4.8 million gallons of sewage and stormwater daily. It provides advanced primary treatment that removes grit, suspended solids and grease from the wastewater and then disinfects it before discharging into the Piscataqua River. Due to changing regulatory standards, the EPA in 2007 declined to reissue a waiver allowing primary treatment and ordered the City to add secondary treatment, which involves using biological agents to remove dissolved organic matter before the wastewater leaves the plant.
The City's other sewage treatment plant is located at the Pease International Tradeport and does provide secondary treatment, but only processes wastewater from the buildings on the Tradeport.