MILTON — A $1.2 million digester rehabilitation project at the Milton Regional Sewer Authority (MRSA) should be substantially completed by May 31.
George Myers, MRSA superintendent, said the MRSA received a $500,000 grant to assist with the project, which involves removing and replacing the old aeration system.
The bulk of that system, Myers said, was installed when the plant was upgraded in 1975.
“There are several goals of the new aeration equipment,” Myers said. “One is to hopefully reduce some of the odors that have been generated here at the Milton Wastewater Plant since 1975. It should significantly reduce a large portion of them.”
He said the work will also reduce the amount of electricity consumed in the aeration process.
Myers said the project is separate from the plant’s wastewater to energy project, which the MRSA had previously attained a $34 million low-interest USDA loan to complete.
That project, Myers said, includes constructing large anaerobic digester tanks in the area between the filter plant and the wastewater treatment plant.
In addition, he said the project includes rehabilitating the aeration tanks, settling tanks, installing ultra-violent lights and nutrient removal in keeping with Chesapeake Bay strategy requirements.
He said generators will be installed that will use methane from the large anaerobic to generate electricity.
Myers said enough electricity will be generate to be used at the plant, in addition to selling about half of it back to the grid.
The project is currently out for bid and is projected to be completed in the summer of 2013. Myers said the bids are slated to be open Thursday, May 12.
He said residents may have also noticed a number of tanker trucks coming and going from the facility in recent days.
“Some of them are tanker trucks that would be seen hauling frack water,” Myers said. “They are not hauling frack water into the Milton Wastewater Treatment Plant.”
He said the trucks are hauling a product known as leachate, or wastewater generated by landfills.
Typically, Myers said leachate is collected and treated on site at a landfill or sent to an adjacent municipal wastewater treatment plant.
“When landfills receive unusually high rain events, like we’ve had over the last several weeks, it exceeds their treatment capacity,” he said. “Therefore, they’re required to find another acceptable disposable site. The Milton Wastewater Treatment site is one of those acceptable sites.”
Myers said the MRSA, and its rate payers, benefit by from the plant accepting the leachate. Last year, he MRSA grossed $600,000 by accepting the material. However, he said that can vary from year-to-year depending on weather conditions.
In other MRSA-related news, Myers said one permit was submitted last week and another is expected to be submitted next week that, if approved, would allow the plant to sell effluent, or treated wastewater, from the plant to companies involved in the gas drilling industry.
Myers said the facility could know in about six months if the permits are approved.
Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.