BERLIN — A tour of Berlin’s new wastewater management facility Monday gave town officials a chance to get a closer look into a process that many try to avoid thinking about.
“I was very impressed,” said Mayor Gee Williams. “[The facility] looked much nicer than anticipated.”
Though the wastewater plant handles the collection and processing of the town’s sewage, Williams says he was amazed by what he called “a very clean operation.” If he didn’t know that it handled wastewater, he added, the facility could have passed for any other municipal complex.
Besides being surprisingly aesthetically pleasing, the plant is fully functional and one of the most advanced in the country, according to town officials.
“It has the latest tehnology,” said Williams.
Water Resources Director Jane Kreiter agreed, stressing how much of an improvement this new facility is to the previous one.
“We feel like we’ve reached the 21st Century,” she joked.
Both the interior and exterior of the plant have been modeled to take advantage of the best equipment available to municipalities, said Williams.
“It’s as advanced a wastewater treatment system as anywhere in the United States,” he noted.
Around the perimeter of the facility are a number of tanks and drying beds which process the water, removing nutrients and eliminating bacteria. Plant Manager Jamey Latchum pointed out that the facility can process 600,000 to 750,000 gallons of water per day, with totals only expected to increase in the future.
“We can basically grow now according to demand,” added Williams.
The new plant is considerably more efficient than the last one, said Kreiter.
“At times, we had to have three pumps on at the same time at the old plant,” she said.
Now, the same job can be done with only one or two pumps. And in case of emergencies, the plant has a powerful one megawatt backup generator.
“They’re basically prepared for any kind of weather imaginable,” said Williams.
“Worst case scenario, we can still carry us and half the town if we need to,” said Kreiter.
While everything was running smoothly during the tour, Kreiter admitted that the transition to the plant is only 97 percent done, and that there are still “a few bugs” to work out. She doesn’t predict any issues with service, however.
Williams added that the plant is a public facility, and any interested residents should stop by to view operations themselves, with reasonable notification.