Lewes wastewater plant backup unit online

January 3, 2020

A second filter unit is up and running at the Lewes wastewater treatment facility, offering a backup system for the effluent treatment process. 

White Marsh Environmental Services, an affiliate of Tidewater Utilities Inc., continues to work on refurbishment of other treatment membranes; the facility has four units.

While Tidewater intended to place one refurbished membrane unit back online Jan. 2, more time was needed to complete the last disinfection cycle. Tidewater notified DNREC a refurbished unit went online Jan. 3. With the exception of a two-hour effluent bypass discharge Jan. 1, the Lewes wastewater treatment plant has resumed normal treatment and discharge of effluent since the installation of a new membrane filter unit on Dec. 28.  

DNREC continues to gather information about operational conditions that caused the recent bypass events at the Lewes plant since Dec. 18, but the incident that occurred is attributable to equipment malfunction, and not related to the volume of flow coming into the plant for treatment, DNREC said in a press release. The malfunction resulted in failure of all four of the facility’s membrane treatment units, requiring bypass of the treatment units until the plant could be equipped with replacement units or refurbish existing units. The Lewes Board of Public Works, owner of the plant, was able to obtain and install one replacement unit Dec. 28, which facilitated the resumption of normal treatment at the plant.

The new unit now installed is capable of effectively treating the current influent of wastewater received by the facility. Until the second unit was brought online Jan. 3, there was no backup for operational adjustments such as a pressure build-up issue that resulted in the two-hour bypass that occurred Jan. 1. Once operational adjustments were made, the pressure issue was corrected, and the system brought back online. The wastewater treatment plant has continued normal treatment operations since 11:45 p.m., Jan. 1 and plant operators do not anticipate additional bypass events occurring.

Prior to the system malfunction, the Lewes facility maintained four membrane treatment units to provide for treatment continuity if maintenance is required and to distribute flow across units for operational flexibility. Tidewater continues to refurbish existing membranes at the facility. The refurbished unit put online Jan. 3 is functioning well and will offer operational backup for treatment and further mitigate the potential need for additional bypass events, the release says. 

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