New York Pilot Meets High Standards with Low Energy

The Windham Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Catskills of New York is pilot testing a unique configuration of commercially available wastewater treatment technologies that are meeting enhanced treatment standards required by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in the city's reservoir watershed.

Co-funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the pilot system, which has been operating since late winter, consistently achieves the enhanced treatment standards while requiring only half the horsepower needed to run a conventional microfiltration-based system. In light of reduced energy requirements, a photovoltaic (PV/solar) array generating electricity will soon be tested at the WWTP to determine if it can provide energy to fully power the system.

The configuration also generates less sludge and has a smaller footprint than most conventional microfiltration-based systems.

Francis J. Murray, Jr. NYSERDA president and chief executive officer, explained that "NYSERDA is partnering with Delaware Operations, a regional engineering firm that serves as a shared-cost contractor for this project. It has combined off-the-shelf components in an imaginative way that can meet enhanced treatment standards while significantly reducing the high electricity consumption of plants."

NYSERDA contributed $199,896 and Delaware Operations provided $200,069 for the design and installation of the system that includes a mechanical fine screen, a clarifier with pre-coagulation, a continuously backwashed upflow sand filter with pre-coagulation, a membrane bioreactor (MBR), and disinfection. The system will be run for several months and then evaluated in a final report due out by the end of year. Staff from both the DEP and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are serving as advisors on the project.

T. Patrick Meehan, Windham supervisor said: "Windham is pleased to host this valuable project. Our engineering firm, Delaware Operations, Inc. seeks to reduce the amount of energy consumed at municipal wastewater treatment plants across the state, while simultaneously enhancing the effectiveness of the treatment process. This information will be highly beneficial to many communities currently investigating new technology."

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