Wastewater Alternatives was asked by the project applicant to prepare an alternative analysis for a residential development that was proposed in a nearby community. The project consisted of 48 dwelling units with a wastewater design flow of 9,900 gallon per day. The project proponents had a desire to include environmentally sustainable programs into their development plan including an alternative wastewater management approach.
Wastewater Alternatives developed and alternatives analysis that included two aerobic treatment options. Each of these systems were analyzed with conventional and drip irrigation dispersal systems. A baseline for comparison was developed by including a conventional system in the analysis. This analysis resulted in the selection of the conventional treatment and dispersal systems since the cost of the alternative systems were economically unfeasible under the project budget.
The Cambridge School is a progressive private high school that promotes the varying talents and abilities of each individual student attending the school. The academic-year population varies annually with an average of approximately 300 students. Of the total student population, approximately 30% of the students board in dormitories on the campus. The campus sprawls over 55-acres located in the Town of Weston and the City of Waltham. The campus consists of four dormitories, two administration buildings, a gymnasium, dining hall, performing arts center, day care facility, science building, art building and numerous single family homes used for staff housing.
When the school recently completed a Master Plan for campus facilities, it became clear that a wastewater facility plan was necessary to provide a basis for campus-wide wastewater management. Wastewater Alternatives developed a clear, concise, organized Wastewater Facilities Plan and Flow Reduction Analysis providing school administration with the information necessary to make short-term and long-term planning decisions. The plan was presented with easy to understand tables and graphs empowering the school community to make sound planning decisions based on solid information.
This plan provided the structural foundation from which implementation of the school’s Master Plan could begin. Since this report was finalized in the spring of 2005 the school has built a new maintenance facility and is about to begin construction of a new Science and Art Center which is expected to become the cornerstone of the campus. Future plans include building a new gymnasium, classroom building and dormitories.
The permitting process for the Village at White Farm, a proposed residential development in the Town of Norton Massachusetts became stalled as the project went for Planning Board approval after receiving a special permit from the Norton Zoning Board of Appeals. The project is located within an aquifer protection zone regulated by MA DEP and a water resource area regulated by the Norton Planning Board.
While the project met the nitrogen loading restrictions of Title 5 of the Massachusetts Environmental Code, the Norton Planning Board, in an effort to maintain drinking water quality within their jurisdiction, required the applicant to meet the nitrogen loading restrictions of the Cape Cod Commission through their Technical Bulletin 99-001. The Planning Board considers the local aquifer as a “sole source aquifer”, the primary reason many Cape Cod projects are subjected to the stringent nitrogen loading requirements of the Cape Cod Commission.
The applicant turned to Wastewater Alternatives to analyze nitrogen loading for the project and to develop a decentralized wastewater management program that would meet the nitrogen loading limitations facing the project. Wastewater Alternatives presented a nitrogen loading model based on the Cape Cod Commission Technical Bulletin 91-001 that showed that the White Farm development as proposed would meet these nitrogen loading limitations by providing a wastewater management plan that includes an aerobic treatment system with controlled effluent recycling and the inclusion of the addition of chemicals to promote the biochemical processes of nitrification and denitrification.
Wastewater Alternatives received approval of the plan from the Norton Planning Board allowing the project to proceed to the Board of Health for final permitting. Final plans and specifications were prepared for the Board of Health by Wastewater Alternatives and full project approval was received in February 2007. The project and this system are expected to completed in 2008.
Freshbrook Waye is an affordable housing development consisting of twelve 3-bedroom single family homes with a design wastewater flow of 3,960 gpd. The development was construction in 1991 and at that time a small sewage collection system was install that transported wastewater from the dwellings to a conventional wastewater treatment and dispersal system that consisted of a septic tank, pump chamber and a large soil absorption system.
The original soil absorption system failed in 1997 and the condominium association had that system replaced at a cost of approximately $70,000. In September 2007 the condominium association had the system inspected as required by the Massachusetts Environmental Code and it was found to be in failure again, primarily from a clogged soil absorption system.
The condominium association asked Wastewater Alternatives to examine the situation to determine why the soil absorption system was failing prematurley, and to develop an alternatives analysis of wastewater management plans to remedy the problem. Although it was not thoroughly field verified due to the associations limited budget for the project it was suspected that the septic tank and/or pump chamber, both below seasonal high groundwater levels, were leaking, causing the soil absorption system to become hydraulically overloaded with little dissolved oxgen to promote the biodegration of organic carbon ultimately clogged the system.
With this noted Wastewater Alternatives devloped an alternative analysis that included three management plans to upgrade the system with all plans including the replacement of the septic tank and pump chamber with tanks that would be certified water-tight. The alternative management plans analyzed included 1.) a conventional replacement system; 2.) an aerobic treatment system with 50% reduction of the soil absorption system; and 3.) the addition of an aerobic treatment system that utilizing the existing soil absorption system that would be remediated in place by distributing the clean, oxygenated effluent from the aerobic treatment system over it.
Approximately half of the school facilities on The Cambridge School campus are connected to the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority’s (MWRA) sewer system that serves much of the Boston metropolitan area. Recently the school learned that their sewer system, constructed in the nineteen sixties through eighties, was never appropriately permitted.
Wastewater Alternatives provided the school with special permitting consulting services such as those required to bring their existing sewer system into compliance with MWRA regulations. We put an emphasis on the enlighten approach that the school has toward education and their ongoing involvement with the community and environment.
We developed a report that outlined accurate wastewater flows now going to the MWRA sewer system and developed permitting fees from this at an approximate 30% savings from the initial MWRA estimate. The situation was a difficult one considering the lack of historical documentation available to determine the status of specific permits for different legs of the CSW sewer.
Wastewater Alternatives assembled and organized all existing documentation available and presented this in a report clarifying the situation allowing the permitting process to proceed to a fair and equitable conclusion for the Cambridge School.
The Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School is a public high school with a capacity of 1,200 students with 1,038 students currently enrolled. For the past 40-years the school has been treating wastewater through a suspended growth extended aeration treatment system with final discharge to an intermittent stream on school property. The system is currently permitted under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The school recently found that the EPA will be implementing stricter monitoring and effluent quality requirements for the system, requirements that cannot be met with the existing aerobic treatment system. The school district asked Wastewater Alternatives to prepare a wastewater management study including an alternatives analysis to determine the best wastewater management strategy for their regional high school facility.
The wastewater management study included an analysis of alternatives including connecting to the sewer system of an adjacent municipality, upgrading the existing wastewater treatment system to discharge final effluent to a subsurface disposal system or to the existing outfall with an effluent quality that will meet the new EPA requirements. The analysis also explored economically feasible options for replacing the existing system with some of the innovative alternative aerobic treatment systems that are now available commercially implemented with a subsurface disposal system.
This wastewater management study was presented to the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee in February of 2007 with the recommendation to implement a plan to treat the sanitary wastewater with a packed-bed textile aerobic treatment system with onsite subsurface dispersal of treated effluent.
In 1996 the Dighton Rehoboth School District began supplying drinking water to the Palmer River Elementary School and the Beckwith Middle School, both located on the same campus in Rehoboth, MA, from an onsite water supply well. This technically placed the wastewater dispersal system into a nitrogen sensitive area as defined by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
This meant that the wastewater treatment system had to denitrify the wastewater prior to disposal in a subsurface soil absorption system. At this time the District installed a Fixed Film Activated Sludge Treatment (FAST) system to provide nitrification (the biochemical conversion of organic nitrogen compounds to the inorganic form of Nitrate) of the wastewater in this aerobic treatment unit and attempted to denitrify (the biochemical reduction of Nitrate to Nitrogen gas) the wastewater by recycling the nitrified effluent from the aerobic treatment unit to an anoxic tank.
The system was never able to nitrify the wastewater which makes denitrification impossible since nitrification is required prior to denitrifying. This meant the system was not producing the effluent quality that was required by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The District asked Wastewater Alternatives to evaluate the existing system and develop a plan of action to remediate the situation and bring the system into compliance with its permit.
We analyzed all of the operational parameters that affect the nitrification and denitrification processes. During this evaluation we determined that one of theprimary problems with the system was the lack of flow equalization and therefore, for the first step in bringing the system into compliance, we recommended the installation of a flow equalization basin. Wastewater Alternatives prepared design plans and specifications for the installation of a flow equalization basin and construction is slated to begin in February of 2008.
Once installed and the new flow regime takes effect, Wastewater Alternatives will begin testing the system for compliance and make minor system adjustments to bring this system into compliance with its permit.