Monday, October 10, 2011

Hillsborough to break ground on Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion

The Town of Hillsborough will officially break ground on the upgrade and expansion of the Hillsborough Wastewater Treatment Plant at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 11.

Mayor Tom Stevens will shovel the first dirt. Construction is expected to be completed in the spring of 2014. This first phase of construction, expected to cost $16.5 million, will bring much-needed upgrades to the plant, which was built in the mid-1970s. The upgrades by Choate Construction Company of Atlanta, Ga., include:

• New tertiary filters capable of removing nitrogen and phosphorous.
• New screenings (trash) removal system at the beginning of the treatment process.
• Installation of new clarifiers (settling basins).
• Upgrades to biological treatment basins.
• New solids treatment and handling facilities.
• New backup power generator.
• Updated plant security and controls.

The upgrade is being funded through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan program. The $18.9 million loan — which also will cover some design costs, construction administration, inspections and contingency funds — will result in annual payments of $1.2 million for 20 years, beginning in Fiscal Year 2015. These payments will result in an 8.8 percent annual increase in sewer rates over six years, beginning with this fiscal year, which started in July.

A second phase of construction will provide extra flow capacity to accommodate planned land uses and projected population growth. Due to stricter state limits, the current plant already has reached its treatment capacity.

Both phases of construction will provide the plant with the capabilities needed to meet new, stricter state limits on discharged water. These new rules — called Falls Lake Rules — will become effective in 2016 and are intended to protect and restore the water quality of Falls Lake, which is on the EPA’s list of impaired waters. Planning for the second phase will begin when the first phase of construction is complete. The start of construction for that phase will be determined by the town’s growth rate, with a likely start in seven to 12 years.

The Wastewater Treatment Plant is located at 355 Elizabeth Brady Road.

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