AMHERST – A month after it opened, Amherst’s multi-million-dollar wastewater treatment facility is already seeing results.
Speaking to members of the Amherst Rotary Club, Scott Kyle of Dillon Consulting said the $12-million facility is removing almost all effluent from the LaPlanche River before it enters the Bay of Fundy.
“The early results are very good,” Kyle said. “In terms of suspended solids and BODs we are way below our discharge limit. The limit is 25 for both of those, and I believe we’re between five and 10.”
Kyle said when the facility first went operational there was basically river water running through the lagoons. Now, there’s pure effluent running into the lagoons. Speaking to the town and its operators, Kyle said he is very pleased with the results.
Prior to construction, biologicals going into the river amounted to 75 mg/litre and suspended solids was 65 mg/litre.
“For many years, the town was collecting its wastewater through a pipe sewage system and it was all heading down to the marsh untreated and heading ultimately to the LaPlanche River and the Bay of Fundy,” Kyle said. “That has been greatly reduced to almost nothing with the completion of this project.”
Kyle has high praise for former town engineer Ron Patterson for having the vision of removing all the town’s wastewater from the ecosystem.
The treatment facility went into operation in October after several years of planning and construction. Kyle said the project faced numerous challenges including uncertainty with the nearby aboiteau, setback requirements from the dike, issues with CNR and a nearby rail crossing and weather conditions that were very unco-operative during the first year of construction.
“The first year was a very wet one. Of the first 14 months, 10 of them had above average rainfall,” Kyle said.
Kyle said the project is a credit to the town, which did not “skimp” on its design and construction. He said the facility should last 40 to 50 years if it’s maintained well.
The project, that had funding from the town, the province and the federal government, represented the culmination of nearly 30 years of work dating back to a regional sewage strategy in the late 1970s.
The town, he said, completed its wastewater abatement strategy in 1993 that included implementing sewage bylaws and various capital projects that paved the way for the wastewater plant. Those projects included building the Terrace Street lift station and the north town collector that removed sewage from streams along the toe of the marsh.
The project, Kyle said, includes two aerated lagoons as well as one surface and two sub-surface engineered wetlands. The sub-surface wetlands are also using recycled tire aggregate that would otherwise being going to a landfill.