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April 18, 2007 David Allen, Deputy DPW Director, 766-1421

PORTSMOUTH - The City of Portsmouth has received its anticipated new discharge permit for the Peirce Island Wastewater Treatment Plant from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The new permit, as expected, will require secondary treatment of the City’s wastewater from the Peirce Island plant. The EPA last spring declined to reissue a waiver that had allowed the City to use only primary treatment methods. Since then, the City has taken several steps in anticipation of the new requirement.

“We’ve been working closely with the EPA and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services on this issue and we expect to continue to do so as we move forward with bringing the City into compliance with the new requirements for secondary treatment,” said City Manager John Bohenko.
The City is in the process of negotiating a contract with a consultant to update the City’s 201 Facilities Wastewater Master Plan. That plan will involve the study of options to bring both the wastewater collection system, as well as the treatment systems, into compliance with the new permit. The process will involve public participation.
The Peirce Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, built in 1964, provides advanced primary treatment that removes grit, suspended solids and grease from the wastewater and then disinfects it before discharging into the Piscataqua River. Secondary treatment requires a biological process to remove dissolved organic matter before the wastewater leaves the plant. The Peirce Island plant must be expanded, replaced or relocated for secondary treatment to be implemented.
The City expects to negotiate an administrative order with the EPA over the next 60 days to develop both the scope of work and schedule for the new study. The City continues to move forward with infrastructure improvements to the storm drain and wastewater systems.

The Peirce Island Wastewater Treatment Plant was named New Hampshire’s “Plant of the Year” by the New Hampshire Water Pollution Control Association last year. The City’s other sewage treatment plant is located at the Pease International Tradeport and does provide secondary treatment, but only processes wastewater from the buildings on the Tradeport.