A ribbon cutting dedication ceremony took place at the Little Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant Monday morning to celebrate the completion of the facility’s Biosolids Beneficial Reuse Project.
Mayor Robert Peters said the project was initiated to address changes in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s air emission rules that would have impacted the operation of the 40-year-old incinerator system and the short- and long-term budget.
“I instructed the supervisors of the wastewater treatment facility to investigate potential options to retrofit our existing incinerator, upgrade the wastewater treatment facility operations and work in conjunction with potential incinerator upgrades to enhance the sludge dewatering and stabilizing systems — all with the goal to be proactive with the new environmental standards in a timely manner,” he said.
“My primary goals, expressed to the supervisors, were to secure the most cost-effective system upgrades while adhering to the existing and known pending air, water and solid waste rules and regulations,” he added.
Through the facility’s new Biosolids Beneficial Reuse Project, local and in-house talent have expanded the wastewater treatment plant into shared services with the Little Falls City School District.
“This will help formulate a plan and execute the operation of the systems that place the facility in compliance with the new environmental standards-well ahead of the mandatory compliance dates,” said Peters.
According to Peters, with compliance with the existing and new standards the new system has saved taxpayers substantial tax dollars on two fronts by avoiding capital cost savings of a newly designed upgrade plan between $2,200,000 and $6,200,000, the proposed systems’ continual operational and maintenance costs.
“By using our local and in-house expertise, we have replaced the sludge incinerator and its associated support systems with a biosolids beneficial reuse handling program for less than $200,000,” he said.
The anticipated annual expenditure for the transportation, stabilization and beneficial reuse of the generated biosolids is approximately $180,000.
The project was completed within the operational and maintenance budgets of the department of public works, asking for no moneys from the common council or finance committee.
Formerly, the generated biosolids were burned and the waste by-products were disposed of in local landfills but after partnering with WeCare Organics of Jordan, the company will now transport the biosolids from the wastewater treatment facility to the Blackwood Coal Mine reclamation site in Tremont, Penn. Operated by WeCare.
WeCare Organics President Jeffrey LeBlanc said the company was contracted out by the city to remove the waste material and recycle it into a stabilized material for reuse.
“The waste material will be used in the mine reclamation site where the matter will be placed back into the land where the soil will be amended by adding proper nutrients and organic matter required for long-term stable growth of grass, trees and crops,” he said. “The partnership is a win-win for WeCare Organics and the city of Little Falls because we are able to recycle and reuse the material and they are helping the environment and also saving a substantial amount of money compared to the previous years of incinerating the waste.”