Portland Water District maps out sustainable wastewater future

Portland Water District develops biosolids masterplan for long-term resiliency and reliability.

The Portland Water District has charted a sustainable wastewater future through the development of a masterplan to evaluate its current and future biosolids management practices.

“As biosolids management costs continue to rise in light of emerging contaminants, like PFAS, and evolving regulations, the Portland Water District is evaluating long-term reliable processing and management options,” said Scott Firmin, director of wastewater services at Portland Water District, who further revealed that the costs have increased by 44% for the disposal of biosolids over the last two years. “Where we are right now is not sustainable, we will look at creative ways to reduce the volume of biosolids generated and explore available treatment options,” he added.

Portland Water District operates four wastewater treatment plants, providing treatment and collection services to their customers in Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Gorham, Portland, Westbrook and Windham. The wastewater treatment plants produce clean water and biosolids. The clean water is safely released to receiving waters and biosolids are treated and landfilled.

Environmental engineering firm Brown and Caldwell will provide services for the plan’s creation. The firm will evaluate solids processing and disposition alternatives, including engineering analysis, risk identification, regulatory review and cost estimation. The resulting roadmap will outline a path to sustainably and safely manage and process biosolids generated at Portland Water District’s wastewater treatment facilities.

Natalie Sierra, national practice lead, solids and energy, Brown and Caldwell Solids, concluded: “We commend Portland Water District’s approach to getting ahead of future biosolids challenges while continuing to meet evolving regulations. We look forward to lending our national and New England experience to chart a sustainable biosolids path for Portland and the communities it serves.”