WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Wastewater Treatment Plant looks a little different these days.
"The paving guys are here," Plant Chief Operator John Lazelle said Monday. "If the weather holds up, it will be 100 percent complete."
The refurbishment project started in September 2015. Most of it was finished by the middle of June.
An open house on Wednesday is being held between 4 and 6 p.m. Select Board members and the public are invited to attend. A discussion about how much of the town's capital fund should be applied to pay off debt from the project is expected to follow during a board meeting.
"Everything went really well," Town Manager Scott Murphy said of the project that came in on schedule and within budget.
Penta Corporation served as the general contractor. According to the company, the $2.13 million project involved restoring a stream bank; replacing a waterline; constructing a new primary treatment building; abandoning and demolishing a clarigester tank; replacing two rotating biological contractors; renovating a control building; and demolishing and rebuilding an office/lab. New, major components include influent pump station controls, a motor control center, an updated supervisory control and data acquisition system, an emergency generator and automatic transfer switch.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development provided a $533,000 grant and $1,597,000 low-interest loan to the town. Working with the USDA was "a bit tedious but certainly worth the effort," said Murphy.
"We're very pleased with the way it's turned out. It's amazing," Murphy said. "It's kind of usual practice for projects to escalate in cost once you start in on them. This one was no different. But for us to come out at about $2.5 million was really good."
The goal was to get another 20 to 25 years out of the plant. That mission was accomplished, according to Lazelle.
"We easily should make it another 20 years before we have to do any sort of upgrade or refurbishment," he said.
The mild winter helped the project move along. Little snowfall allowed construction to continue through a season that can be harsh in Vermont.
"In the fall, we thought we might have to do a winter shutdown. It would have made the schedule really hard to meet," Lazelle said. "For the size of the project, it went extremely smooth. No problems, no hiccups at all. The weather was incredible. We really lucked out."
With some funds left over, paving was added on.
"There's a very small punch list left," Lazelle said. "All the equipment is performing as it should. It's been very smooth."
One of the major new additions is a main primary treatment system. New equipment went in around mid-April.
A Blue Water rotating belt filter replaced the clarigester.
"This is the first RBF unit installed in New England to provide advanced primary treatment and solids recovery. This equipment is automated and self-cleaning, has a very small footprint and is very compact," Penta stated in a project description. "Solids removed after screening are dewatered and discharged into a small Dumpster by the dewatering screw. The sludge dewatering is a very good fit for the current method of sludge composting as the dewatered cake is placed in the storage area, mixed with wood chips and composted."
One of the plant's two rotating biological contractors was no longer working when the project began. Both have been replaced.
The new office is much more professional, said Lazelle.
"We're not crowded. We have plenty of room for all of our files. We actually have a conference table," he said. "We literally had no spot to open up blueprints and look at them. Now, four people can sit around and discuss them."
A room for storage in the attic of the office is "a huge advantage" over what the plant previously had, Lazelle said. The lab is "much more spacious and just makes our job much easier," he added.
"Everything looks so much better. We had several people come and take a tour. There were a lot of positive comments," Lazelle said. They're very impressed by how everything turned out."
Aldrich + Elliott served as engineers. Watts-Up handled plumbing and mechanical work. Also hired were Edgewater Construction and Mitchell Excavating.
Lazelle applauded the working relationship between himself, Rick Dupont, a field representative for Aldrich + Elliott, and Doug Sylvester of Pena.
"We were able to work through any issue that came up, smoothly and efficiently, to keep the project on schedule," Lazelle said. "Overall, it was a great project and we now have a modern, efficient, professional looking facility to give us another 20 to 25 years of service."
Call Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273.