Treatment plant upgrades focus of meeting

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An informational meeting on planned upgrades to the Waste Water Treatment Plant on Lopus Road in Beacon Falls is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Woodland Regional High School. –LUKE MARSHALL
An informational meeting on planned upgrades to the Waste Water Treatment Plant on Lopus Road in Beacon Falls is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Woodland Regional High School. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — Major repairs are on the horizon for the Waste Water Treatment Plant and residents will have the chance to hear all about them.

An informational meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the auditorium at Woodland Regional High School to discuss the improvements needed for the plant on Lopus Road.

First Selectman Gerard Smith said the meeting will be the first of its kind.

“Outside appropriating the money for the study, we haven’t had a big, informational public hearing yet,” Smith said.

Dave Prickett, vice president of Woodward and Curran and project manager for the town’s Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrade, said the meeting will help to inform both the town and the residents about what the project entails.

“The goal of the informational meeting next week is to discuss the proposed improvements with the various boards and interested parties in town, knowing there is a substantial cap investment for this project,” Prickett said.

Waste Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Walter Opuszynski said the biggest problem with the plant and the pumps is their age.

“The plant itself is almost 50 years old and we’re using existing pumps from the early ‘70s,” Opuszynski said. “Their life is 20 to 30 years max.”

The other problem the plant faces is that it is no longer in compliance with the state mandated regulations on the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen that it allows in the water.

“We have to meet new mandates from state. If we don’t meet them we will be fined,” Opuszynski said.

Prickett explained the state regulations will take effect in May 2014.

“I think it’s important for residents to understand that Beacon Falls is not being singled out by the state for its treatment plant. It’s a state-wide initiative,” Prickett said. “It’s the nature of environmental regulations to continue to change and evolve over time.”

Residents already approved $1 million towards the project, which paid for the study to find out what was needed and begin the work at the plant. In the near future the town will propose spending another $700,000 for needed upgrades at the plant.

Prickett said it would cost approximately $100,000 to bring the plant in compliance with state regulations for phosphorous and nitrogen.

The other $600,000 would be used towards upgrading the three pump stations.

In addition to upgrading the pumps and meeting the state regulations, Prickett said the town needs to take care of the overflow that occurs during wet weather due to storm water flowing into the plant.

Prickett said the cost of the entire project is estimated at $16 million and will completely upgrade the plant and the town’s sewer system.

Prickett encouraged residents to come to the meeting, saying he will go through the background of the project.