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Recent Projects

Solar Panel Installation

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In 2017, Wells Sanitary District (WSD) entered into a power purchase agreement with ReVision Energy, a Maine-based solar power company. ReVision Energy built the solar power array at WSD’s treatment facility at minimal cost to WSD. The array includes 440 solar panels and electrical equipment that delivers 120 kilowatts to the wastewater treatment facility.

 

Currently, the solar array provides 15%-20% of WSD’s power at the treatment facility. If the solar array produces extra power that WSD cannot use, the extra power goes to the electrical grid for credits from the power company.

WSD’s up-front costs were $5,000 for excavation services to install electrical conduit. ReVision Energy paid for the rest of the system installation, which began running in November 2017. WSD will purchase power from ReVision Energy for 6 years at a rate lower than the rate paid to the power company. In year 7 (2024), WSD will purchase the solar array for less than half the original installation cost.

 

The expected 5-year payback period will begin in 2024 and end in 2029.

MLE Process Upgrade

Starting in 2017, WSD started to optimize the way we treat wastewater. The original plant was designed to run a conventional activated sludge process. This was used for decades with success, but as our mission statement indicates, WSD is always striving for the cleanest final product at the lowest possible cost. 

To do so, the crew has made some adjustments to operate in a mode known as the Modified Ludzack- Ettinger process. 

With the help of Efficiency Maine, 2 mixers were installed in the beginning of the treatment trains, and nitrate recycle pipes as well, which created an anoxic zone at the beginning of our treatment process. The end goal was to reduce our final effluent nitrogen and ammonia levels, as well as to increase our removal efficiency to provide a cleaner final end product. 

In 2022, 2 recirculation pumps were bought to further increase our treatment efficiency, which will reduce our air power demand and save electricity usage. They are planned to be installed in winter 2022, and spring 2023. 

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Going Green!

Wells Sanitary District strives to be energy conservative, not only to reduce our carbon footprint, but to reduce our electricity costs as well to keep our customer rates low. 

We have partnered with Efficiency Maine once again to reduce our lighting energy. The original metal halide lights were still equipped in our tank room at the plant, consuming a hefty 175 watts per fixture. Not only are these light fixtures energy hogs, but the bulbs are also an environmental concern as they contain trace amounts of mercury, much like fluorescent lighting. 

Our electrician has replaced all 40+ lights in the facility with new LED units, which only consume 60 watts per fixture. This will lead to a substantial savings over the life of the new fixtures. We have already upgraded all of the other lights at the facility, transferring from fluorescent fixtures to energy efficient LED units, including in our outdoor lighting. 

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Drakes Island Forcemain

The drakes island forcemain project has been underway since 2018 when the pipe first surfaced above water. Dive crews were quick to re-secure the pipe that was previously under the channel of the harbor from 1980. 

4 years later, a contract was finalized and all the permitting was finished to allow the project to commence. Before the start date that was targeted by the permit, the existing pipe at the time failed.

Wells Sanitary District and the appropriate crews were on the scene at each break, to ensure the pump station was shut down, and the pipe repaired and re-secured in the channel. 

All tests taken from the harbor were well below permit limits.

Below is a brief timeline of the process involved to get two new pipes installed. 

 

May 21, 2018- Pipe spotted in the harbor floating

May 25, 2018- Pipe securing finalized, buoys attached. Divers set to come back and check for movement. 

July 8, 2022- First leak observed under the sand on the Drakes Island side of the beach. Pump Station shut down, sewage leak halted and repaired that day into the night. 

July 21, 2022- Second leak was mid harbor, caused by boat strike. PS shut down and septic haulers operated overnight until dive crew could make the repairs the next day.

July 22, 2022- Dive crews arrived, cut out section hit by the boat and installed new pipe. While testing the fitting, a boat came by and hit the pipe again causing the fittings to fail. Divers re-secured and added bouy markers.

July 24,2022- Pipe connection broke in the harbor once more. PS shut down and repairs commenced and finished that day.

August 8, 2022-  WSD crews noticed flow was higher than normal in the station. Did a dye test and saw the pipe was leaking in the same spot again. PS shut down and repairs commenced and finished that day. Plans were made to better secure the pipe with 17,000 lbs of concrete, stainless steel rod and new couplings on Friday August 12. 

August 11, 2022- WSD crews saw flows were slightly elevated at the pump station again. Did a dye test, saw that it was leaking again. While still waiting for parts, crews shut down the PS again, and dive crews were able to add extra reinforcement to the pipe. Divers commence twice per week inspection of pipe. 

August 18, 2022- Contractor was mobilized to the location.

August 24, 2022- Drilling was successful 23 feet below the bottom of the channel.

August 30, 2022- Two 8inch HDPE pipes were successfully pulled through. 

September 2, 2022- Construction on the Atlantic Ave parking lot was completed. A new manhole and gravity line was installed. 

September 7, 2022- New pipes were successfully pressure tested. 

September 26, 2022- New pipes connected and old pipe capped. PS back to normal. 

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