More upgrades in store for treatment plant

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The wastewater treatment plant on Lopus Road in Beacon Falls. –FILE PHOTO

BEACON FALLS — Upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant are continuing to move forward.

The Board of Selectmen last month awarded a $121,000 bid to Kovacs Construction Corporation out of Oxford to make some upgrades at the plant, including replacing the cover and apparatuses in the secondary anaerobic digester, which is used to break down solid waste. The work also includes demolishing and replacing the waste sludge pipes.

The work is part of a multi-year plan estimated to cost $10 million to make upgrades at the plant in response to state mandates to reduce phosphorus and nitrogen in emissions from the plant.

Much of the machinery at the plant is over 40 years old. In February, the town approved transferring $250,000 for an aerator.

The anaerobic digester is the next step in the upgrades at the treatment plant, according to Dave Prickett, a consultant working with the town on the project.

Prickett said the upgrades will lower the cost of treating the sludge, which is one of the highest expenses at the plant along with labor costs.

“There is actually a payback for this one because there is a corresponding reduction in [operation and management] costs,” First Selectman Christopher Bielik said.

In addition to the $121,000 bid for the upgrades, the project is expected to cost an additional $70,000 for a new fiberglass cover and mixing equipment, Bielik said. The town is purchasing the equipment rather than the contractor in order to save money, he said.

The roughly $191,000 will come from the contingency fund in the treatment plant’s budget, which the town has increased the last couple years with the intent of spending it on this type of project, Bielik said.

As the plan progresses, Bielik said the town will take on larger projects.

“The next group of improvements is going to be on a much bigger scale than what we are doing right now. We have been funding everything out of operational funding and out of excess general fund balance right now. Eventually we will have to go out for bond funding to be able to complete the rest of the project,” Bielik said.