89 Main St., Suite 4, Montpelier, VT 05602   

Deer Island Wastewater Facility Tour

On October 3, 2019, 32 Vermont and New Hampshire water quality professionals caught a bus in South Burlington, Montpelier, West Lebanon, and Manchester to visit the Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in WInthrop, Mass.  

Intitiated by GMWEA board member Ryan Peebles and presented in coordination with VRWA and NHWPCA, the travelers enjoyed a rare, close-up view of one of the 20th century’s most challenging and successful environmental improvement projects -- and earned 2 TCHs. 

Serving 2.3 million people in 43 Boston-area communities, Deer Island is the largest waste water facility in New England and the second or third largest (depending on the criterion) in the US.  Its average influent flow of over 300 mgd and maximum storm-influenced flow of over 1,280 mgd are accommodated while discharging consistently clear effluent through its 24-foot diameter, deep-ocean, gravity-fed  9.5-mile outfall tunnel.  A total of 5,000 miles of sewer pipe serves the facility.
Completed in 2001, this mammoth plant replaced two aging and inefficient primary-only, near-shore discharge facilities.  In design and construction, it  reflects the desire to minimize environmental impacts, of every kind, on Massachusetts Bay.  Its renewable energy systems, for example, provide more than half of the island’s electricity through a combination of methane biodigesters, wind turbines, solar power, and hydro-electric generation. 

The tour was guided by plant process engineering staff.  Adding a deep insider’s knowledge, they were accompanied by their former colleague, Charlie Tyler, who retired from the plant in 2017 after over 25 years of involvement in planning, design, construction, start-up, and process operations there.

The Vermont DEC aawarded tour participants 2 TCHs (for the tour, but not the bus ride!). 

For photo essay about the tour, visit www.gmweablog.com.  Thanks are due to VRWA's wastewater specialists Wayne Graham and Elizabeth Walker for helping to manage the tour and for the photos!

Want to tour Deer Island in 2020?  Contact
Ryan Peebles, GMWEA’s Membership Committee chair, at (802) 222-1762 or email at Ryan.peebles@cleanwaters.us .