The first phase of the $37 million Wastewater Treatment Plant in Norwalk, Connecticut which includes main lift pumping and grit and screens removal in order to treat a peak flow of up to 90 million gallons per day recently broke ground.

The new facility will also provide improved treatment for the extraneous flow the plant receives during wet weather events and once completed, the Norwalk WPCF will be a leader in the state of Connecticut’s goal of improving the quality of Long Island Sound through the substantial reduction in the discharge of harmful nutrients and improved water quality.

“This is an increase in our pretreatment capacity of over 3 times what we currently have available and significantly improves our ability to treat wastewater during wet weather events,” said Darren Oustafine, WPCA Chairman. “Although our plant runs exceptionally and well below permit limits, we, as a board and in partnership with our city staff, are continually seeking ways to improve this treatment plant’s operation.”

The Norwalk WPCF project has been a collaborative effort between Construction Manager, Gilbane Building Company of Glastonbury, Connecticut and Engineer, Camp Dresser & McKee of Cambridge, Massachusetts through the design process and into the construction process and is being financed through the state of Connecticut’s Clean Water Fund. The city of Norwalk will receive over $14 million in grants and almost $22 million in low-interest loans for its construction.

Some major highlights of the project include the construction of a 25-ft-deep structure supported by hundreds of concrete piles in complex soil conditions as well as a number of green initiatives including premium efficiency motors, high efficiency fluorescent lighting, a building structure that will meet or exceed the current insulation requirements set forth by the Connecticut State Building Code, and an innovative “solarwall” that will use solar energy to reduce the building’s heating requirements.

The project is expected to be completed by May 2011.