City’s $92M Sewer Plant Upgrade Enters Third Year

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Posted November 27, 2018

The city’s roughly $92 million project to upgrade its wastewater treatment facility on Peirce Island “has entered its third year of construction,” according to a report to the City Council from the Department of Public Works.

Once completed, the upgraded plant will provide secondary treatment of the city’s sewage for the first time, and reduce nitrogen discharge into the Piscataqua River and Great Bay.

The upgrade of the wastewater treatment facility is the most expensive municipal project in the city’s history.

Construction of the upgraded plant began in September 2016 and as DPW officials explained in their report, “involves a series of sequential steps to build the new elements of the upgraded facility, while keeping the existing WWTF (wastewater treatment facility) in service.”

“The different components of the upgraded WWTF will be completed and put into service at different times during the four-year construction period. Since the last progress report, the first of the new WWTF components were put into service including the new electrical switchgear, the new standby engine-generator and the headworks,” the report states.

The switchgear, according to the report, is the electrical equipment that brings the utility electrical service into the facility and distributes the incoming power to the separate buildings on the site. The switchgear also houses the automatic transfer switch that starts the standby engine-generator to provide emergency power in the event of a power system failure.”

All of the facilities at the Peirce Island plant are now running “on the new permanent power system,” according to the report.

The report, which was included in this week’s City Council packet, also updates the council on the total cost of the project.

The final completion date for the project, which is being conducted on the city-owned Peirce Island, is August 2020.