Amherst nets $145k grant to innovate wastewater treatment

  • Amherst Town Hall

Staff Writer
Published: 9/18/2018 11:50:01 PM

AMHERST — Amherst is one of four communities in the state embarking on a pilot program aimed at improving the quality of its wastewater, reducing the cost of treating the effluent and potentially finding other uses for the end product.

The Baker-Polito Administration this week announced grants totaling $402,000 that will go toward determining what kinds of technologies might work for each wastewater district.

In the case of Amherst, $145,027 will go to Nanostone Water Inc. of Waltham to treat the wastewater at the town’s plant on the University of Massachusetts campus using what is considered innovative treatment and oxidation methods. The goal is to demonstrate the effectiveness of these new methods for possible reuse of water for non-potable purposes.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Guilford Mooring said town workers will assist with the “small pilot program,” in which a portion of the wastewater will essentially be treated twice before it is discharged to the Connecticut River.

Also receiving funding is Hach, Woodard & Curran and the City of Westfield, where ammonia-based aeration control could lead to energy savings; MICROrganic Technologies, which will work with the City of Pittsfield to aerate organic waste without blowing air through it; ​​​​and Microvi Biotech, Westech Engineering Inc. and the Fairhaven Water Pollution Control Facility, which will use two kinds of nutrient removal technology in hopes of reducing energy usage.

The funding for these projects comes through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Wastewater Treatment Pilot program, which supports publicly owned wastewater treatment districts that seek innovative technologies. The aim is to increase energy efficiency by reducing electricity, recover resources and remediate nutrients such as nitrogen or phosphorus. 

Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement that there should be cost savings and better wastewater produced.

“Working with municipalities to make their wastewater treatment plants more efficient will provide benefits to their residents and the environment,” Baker said.

Amherst state Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose said Amherst and the UMass campus are a good place for doing this type of work.

“Amherst is one of the statewide centers for water treatment innovation, so this grant is well-placed,” Goldstein-Rose said.

Each project involves a partnership between a municipality and a technology provider. The four municipalities provided a cost share of $547,384. Mooring said Amherst’s share is based on the anticipated cost of personnel assisting Nanostone’s employees.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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