WILMINGTON — A refurbishment project at the Wilmington Wastewater Treatment Plant is in its third month and it doesn't seem to be slowing down.
"We are behind on the construction of the new office/lab building, mostly due to the delay in the demolition of the building," said John Lazelle, chief operator. "However, we are ahead of schedule on the construction of the new primary treatment building. So far there have been only minor issues, nothing that hasn't been easy to deal with."
Over $2 million was secured for the project, between a bond, grant, local contribution and loan. Construction likely will shut down at some point during the winter due to extreme weather but completion of the improvements are expected by late spring or early summer.
The site is tight on space with all the construction equipment and materials, according to Lazelle. Besides Lazelle and another operator Jeff Longe, there's the contractor Penta Corporation's project manager Doug Sylvester and engineer group Aldrich & Elliott representative Rick Dupont overseeing the project.
"We work very well together," Lazelle said.
So far, demolition has begun on the plant's second rotating biological contactor. A temporary structure was set up for electrical controls for a pump station with the controls switched over to it. New primary treatment building footings and frost walls were poured. Work related to the piping to the primary treatment building was started. The air line to the lagoons was relocated. Excavation for the new water line was initiated.
And that's only a partial list.
"We are excited to get a new modern office/lab building with a more efficient heating and ventilation system," Lazelle said, describing the site. "We're also looking forward to the new primary treatment equipment and getting rid of the 1964 clarigester. This new technology is new to the United States and should be a perfect fit to our system."
The project will not increase the capacity of the plant, Lazelle has previously noted. But it will mean another 20 to 25 years of operation without any major renovations being needed.
Voters approved of a bond at Town Meeting Day in March. Repayment of the bond will fall on the plant's users.
Videos showing demolition at the plant can be viewed at youtu.be/szE_zFM_hkU and youtu.be/yuTL3nUMiow.