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Water Infrastructure
Water Infrastructure

Sun, Apr 07



Water Infrastructure

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Time & Location

Apr 07, 2019, 7:00 PM

Vestal, 328 Vestal Pkwy E, Vestal, NY 13850, USA

About the event

A history of municipal water started in the 1900’s as the population grew and individual well and septic transitioned into municipal infrastructure. Fire protection was historically the primary reason for municipal water. The first municipal water supplied New York City. In 1800 the Manhattan Company (now The Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A.) sank a well at Reade and Centre Streets, pumped water into a reservoir on Chambers Street and distributed it through wooden mains to a portion of the community.

In the 1920’s and 30’s electric became a viable source of energy. Septic originally relied on steam but electric and water developed together. Later the primary reason to develop waste water treatment plants was to combat pollution. In the 1950’s regulatory requirements came from massive problems such as The Love Canal in the Niagara Falls Area where toxic chemicals were dumped onto a 70 acre area and then the land was sold and developed as a working class neighborhood. After an unusually strong rain the site exploded and began leaching toxic chemicals that caused disease and defects for the people that lived there. The New York State Health Department investigated a disturbingly high rate of miscarriages, along with birth-defect cases detected in the area.

In the 1950’s the Binghamton/Johnson City Waste Water treatment plant was developed and the process worked this way:

First there is the Primary Treatment Process and course screening: pumps are lifted and gravity is used for initial grit removal. Different chemical are used based on what industries are in the city.

Secondary Treatment Process is the Biological Aerated Filter Process to remove Carbon and Nitrogen. The waste flow comes into media and microscopic bugs that eat the waste and natural chemical compounds are created. The waste flows through another biological process to eat the natural compounds that were created before. Next any pathogens still remaining are killed with Chlorine Methanol as a Carbon source.

Historically, the plant had some problems that were notable when one drove by the plant. Caps will be placed on the top of the buildings to deal with the notorious odor.

In the 2011 flood the plant was infiltrated by water and it caved. Millions of dollars in lawsuits were filed against the company that was in the process of updating the plant. Jacobs Engineering, the second largest engineering company in the world was charged in overhauling the site and updating the plant to the 21st Century. Jerry Nystrom is head engineer on this multifaceted project and was generous in his time to tour us around the plant and provide much information about the processes. By the end of this year the plant will be up and running.

Currently, since the flood, the waste water treatment plant has only been running the Primary Treatment Process. When Jacobs Engineering completes the new design, chlorine will be replaced with ultraviolet light to kill pathogens. Pathogen reduction works better with ultraviolet light and is safer for the environment.

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