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Tidewater cleans Plantations wastewater lagoon

Liners of storage basins are being replaced, excess sludge removed
December 27, 2017

Story Location:
Plantation Road
Lewes  Delaware  19958
United States

For the second time since purchasing the Plantations and Plantations East wastewater treatment facility in 2013, Tidewater Environmental Services Inc. is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain the system.

Bernadette Sohler, Middlesex Water Company corporate affairs vice president, said its subsidiary, Tidewater, has three lagoons at the wastewater treatment facility designed for the two developments’ 600 customers. The first lagoon is a treatment lagoon, and the last two store treated water prior to spraying.

“The first storage lagoon’s liner had reached its useful life, and the lagoon needed to be cleaned and have the sludge removed,” she said in a Dec. 14 email.

In a follow-up email Dec. 19, Sohler said Tidewater began refurbishing one of two storage lagoons in October. She said Tidewater anticipates the project to be completed by mid-January 2018, and the replacement of the liner in the second lagoon has been budgeted for next year.

Sohler said replacing the 45-millimeter-thick, geosynthetic-polypropylene liner in both lagoons will cost $150,000 to $170,000. She said sludge removal and regrading will cost about $200,000 for the first lagoon. The second lagoon is expected to be less because the company doesn’t expect as much sludge, said Sohler, adding the sludge is all of the decomposed organic material that accumulated prior to Tidewater assuming operation and ownership of the wastewater facility.  

Sohler said the company knew it was time to replace the liner after operations and engineering teams began seeing cracking and vegetation coming through the liner. Upon further inspection, she said, they determined based on installation, that the liner was near the end of its useful life.

Sohler said both lagoons together hold about 3.6 million gallons of treated water.

“This equates to about 90 days of storage if none were to be sprayed,” she said. “However, we are able to spray.”

The first time Tidewater improved the wastewater treatment facility was in late 2014, when it spent nearly $500,000 on a computer system that allows automated operation of several systems, a new pumphouse roof, new spray pumps, re-tilling and replanting the spray field, rebuilding the spray system, residing the aeration building, and construction of a new generator building with three new generators.

As for the excess sludge, Sohler said part of it was removed in liquid form and taken to Delcora, a wastewater facility in Pennsylvania that accepts liquid sludge from a licensed waste hauler. The remainder of the sludge, she said, was thickened by adding sawdust and taken to the Delaware Solid Waste Authority Sussex County Landfill.