Updates to wastewater treatment plant in Howland to begin soon

WARREN — A $31.7 million upgrade to a wastewater treatment plant in Howland is set to begin in the next few weeks that will replace technology from the 1980s and enable the plant to filter out nitrogen and phosphorus, which it hasn’t been able to do in the past.

“It is a complete renovation of the plant,” said Gary Newbrough, Trumbull County deputy sanitary sewer engineer.

Trumbull County commissioners today are expected to issue a notice to proceed to A.P. O’Horo of Youngstown for the upgrades to the Mosquito Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant on Anderson Avenue NE.

The work is expected to begin within a few weeks of the notice and it will take about two years to complete, said Scott Verner, special projects director and chief design engineer for the county office.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is setting new discharge limits for phosphorus and nitrogen, which the current plant is incapable of removing before it discharges into Mosquito Creek, Verner said.

“Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems,” according to the Ohio EPA’s nutrient reduction strategy. “When too much nitrogen and phosphorus enter the environment — usually from a wide range of human activities — the water can become polluted. The primary sources of nutrient pollution are runoff of fertilizers, animal manure, sewage treatment plant discharges, storm water runoff, car and power plant emissions, and failing septic tanks.”

About 48 percent of Ohio’s watersheds are degraded by the elements, which can cause algal blooms and change aquatic communities, according to the Ohio EPA, and conditions in Ohio have reached a “critical” state.

A biological nutrient removal zone to treat the issue will be added to existing digesters, Verner said.

“Now, there are not any phosphorus limits, but this will allow us to achieve it,” Verner said.

The plant servicing about 5,000 households also will increase its capacity from 4.2 million gallons per day to 5.25 million gallons, Verner said. Consumers in the Mosquito Creek District pay $5.75 per 1,000 gallons treated.

The plant will continue to operate during the upgrades. Most of the technology in the plant is from 1986, Newbrough said.

“Just about all of the equipment and the data systems, the instrumentation and electronics will be brought up to today’s standards,” Newbrough said.

Some of the valves at the plant will be automated through new control systems.

Federal prevailing wages are required for the work being done at the plant, according to a bid advertisement.

rfox@tribtoday.com

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