City of Portsmouth NH Peirce Island Wastewater Treatment Facility Named NHDES Wastewater Plant of the Year

August 25, 2023

The NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) joined the New Hampshire Water Pollution Control Association to present the 2023 NHDES Wastewater Plant of the Year Award to the City of Portsmouth for the Peirce Island Wastewater Treatment Facility at the August 21, 2023 City Council Meeting. This award recognizes outstanding excellence in wastewater treatment facility operations, compliance with both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NHDES treatment regulations, safety, employee education, public outreach and professional participation. Portsmouth also received the award in 2005.

Peter Conroy, Peirce Island WWTF Chief Plant Operator and his staff with DPW Director Peter Rice, Deputy Director Brian Goetz and City Engineer Erich Fiedler received the award at the Portsmouth City Council meeting from Rene Pelletier, NHDES Water Division Director (and 50-year veteran of the Department) and John Adie, NHDES Wastewater Engineering Bureau, Operations Technical Specialist. Michael Theriault, Vice President of the New Hampshire Water Pollution Control Association also attended on behalf of his association.

In presenting the award, NHDES Director Pelletier applauded the success of the City’s Peirce Island Wastewater Treatment Facility since the completion in 2021 of its $92 million upgrades, accomplished while the facility continued to operate. He commented, “Of all the 87 publicly owned water treatment plants we regulate, Portsmouth is the shining star. You are a model of how to get things done, working with the City Council and educating the community. You had the foresight to plan for the future. The most impressive result of your accomplishment is the advantage to Great Bay and to the river. How lucky you are to have a great partnership and a great group of operators who have produced a phenomenal benefit to the environment.”

Earlier this year, NHDES Commissioner Robert E. Scott also presented the 2023 NHDES Source Water Protection Award to the City of Portsmouth, saying, “This award is presented to Portsmouth for the City’s multi-year effort to protect high-priority water supply lands around the Bellamy Reservoir. This effort stands out as a model in terms of protecting critical water supply lands that serve to protect the reservoir, a primary source of drinking water for the City.” In addition, the EPA presented its 2022 Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator of the Year Award to David Lovely the Chief Operator of the Pease Wastewater Treatment Facility.

The Department of Public Works will host a “Wastewater 101” public information meeting on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, at 6:30 pm in the Levenson Room of the Portsmouth Public Library. The presentations will include an overview of basic wastewater treatment concepts and definitions, the City’s current wastewater system, the status of current regulations, system performance, current challenges and upcoming projects.

CAPTION: The Wastewater Plant of the Year Award ceremony included (left to right) Operations Technical Specialist John Adie and Director Rene Pelletier, NH Department of Environmental Services; Terry Desmarais, Underwood Engineers/Portsmouth; City DPW staff Chris Kelly, Deputy Director Brian Goetz, Director Peter Rice, Kevin Daley, Erik Meserve, Stephen Roger, Jon Pearson, Peter Conroy (Peirce Island WWTF Chief Plant Operator), City Engineer Erich Fiedler and Aaron Bickford; Deputy City Manager Suzanne Woodland and Mayor Deaglan McEachern.

City receives NHDES Wastewater Plant of the Year Award