Antrim sewer plant cleared by state

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

After nearly two years of scrutiny by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Antrim Township has a clear record on a Consent Order Agreement.

Antrim Township Municipal Authority was notified in April that the Aug. 2, 2012 COA terms had been met. The wastewater treatment plant had achieved six consecutive months of compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

“We’re no longer under the stipulated penalties,” reported public works director Carl Rundquist.

Antrim administrator Brad Graham later explained that a DEP inspector had been at the plant when it experienced a “burp”, something that occurs during operations at all sewer plants at some time but is not indicative of overall performance. Solids had overflowed a particular screen, so the township was written up.

There was also a sanitary sewer overflow into a cornfield on Carol Avenue at Shanks Church Road during a heavy rain. That was the catalyst for another course of action.

As part of the agreement, ATMA had to make sure it had two presses at the plant to handle sludge. An outdated one was taken out of commission and the current plate and frame press was retained as a backup. The authority is also in the process of obtaining a screw press, which is more efficient. It is part of the financing project recently approved, with ATMA pursuing a $3.3 million loan to cover both the new screw press and upgrades to the Shanks Church Road sewer line.

“We’re always improving the system,” Graham said. “These are required by the state and we’re making good progress.”

Corrective Action Plan

Antrim is also working with DEP on a separate issue. The plant exceeded a three-month maximum capacity flow in 2011. During the months of March, April, May and September, more than the allotted 1.2 million gallons of wastewater per day were serviced. Three lift stations also exceeded their design capacity.

As a result, Antrim received a Prohibition of Connections notice. It remained at the norm, and requested amount of 75 EDUs annually, but could not go higher if developers needed more sewer hookups.

Antrim focused on reducing the inflow and infiltration of its collections system, said Graham. The year 2011 had been very wet, with a record 52.6 inches of rain that especially affected the Coseytown area. By the same token, the plant never exceeded its limit in 2012.

Part of the Corrective Action Plan was to create a sewer bypass line on Shanks Church Road to avoid residential subdivisions. It is in the design stage, and rights-of-way must yet be obtained. Construction is slated for April 2015 with a completion date of January 2016.

Rundquist has been overseeing work on the pump stations, manholes, installing new flow meters, televising the sewer lines to spot leaks, and conducting some repairs. Graham credited  him for doing a “massive amount of work”.