Hillsborough’s wastewater plant expanded, renovated
The ribbon was cut Wednesday for Hillsborough’s improved wastewater treatment plant.
The $19.8 million expansion and renovation project has brought the facility up to more stringent state rules and increased its capacity.
“When we talk about Hillsborough, it’s about community and our character and our heritage, the general vitality of our town,” said Mayor Tom Stevens. “Now we have the opportunity to celebrate what is so under-celebrated and that’s our basic infrastructure.
“With this new facility we are able to use the Eno River for water and leave the river in really good shape,” Stevens said. “This is a big day for Hillsborough.”
The improvements include new clarifiers, a new backup power generator, updated security and controls, a new screening removal system at the beginning of the treatment process, upgrades to biological treatment basins and new tertiary filters that are capable of removing nitrogen and phosphorous.
The project has automated much of the operations of the plant and allowed for the elimination of two positions for the 2015 fiscal year, saving the town $141,000 in salaries and benefits.
Before the upgrade, the wastewater treatment facility was using technology that was more than 30 years old, with designs that kept it from meeting stricter standards that had since been put in place.
“This upgrade project has significantly improved the treatment capability of the Hillsborough Wastewater Treatment Plant, helping to further increase the water quality of the Eno River,” said town engineer Kenny Keel. “The plant staff has performed exceptionally well during the construction process in keeping the plant compliant with state requirements.
“Our wastewater treatment process is now state of the art, replacing the previous facility’s 1970s technology,” he said.
“We’ve got a new facility that’s going to serve us for generations,” said Town Manager Eric Peterson.
Choate Construction Company of Atlanta was responsible for the construction of the project.
Fiscal year 2015 will bring with it debt payments on the $18.2 million from the state’s Revolving Fund loan program which funded the bulk of the project and the planning for the second phase of the wastewater treatment plant’s upgrade.
The second phase is expected to begin construction between 2020 and 2030 and is slated to include extra flow capacity to accommodate planned land uses and projected population growth and allow the plant to meet stricter state limits on discharged water,
The limits on discharge water are called Falls Lake Rules and are expected to be effective in 2016. They are intended to protect and restore the water quality of Falls Lake. Hillsborough is within a watershed that drains into Falls Lake.