Sea-level Rise and Sewer Systems: Rhode Island Cities Unite to Resolve a Shared Obstacle

Dec 21

Sea-level Rise and Sewer Systems: Rhode Island Cities Unite to Resolve a Shared Obstacle

The Cities of North Providence and Johnston have come together for a common cause. The Sewer Infrastructures are in need of reassessments and improvement in order to rectify the dilemma of sea flooding issues, as well as basement backups. Both Cities are is in the process of evaluating the results of actions taken to address sewage overflows. Similarly, both are making water quality a priority in order to ensure the stability of the environment and how it affects their respective communities.  Each community has experienced a similar condition relating to their local sewer pipes. Currently, the main issue is sewer system overflows and strategies are being devised to overcome the problem. Several residential structures within Rhode Island’s 21 coastal communities are currently vulnerable to some level of flooding in the event of a 100-year storm, in the event of seven feet of sea level rise. Research shows that homes with basements have a significant issue as their boiler systems and hot water heaters are installed below ground level, where even a small amount of water can be problematic. Two-thirds of the homes evaluated in each community have basements, while only a small percentage are elevated. Building elevated structures will make neighborhoods safer when the risk of flooding occurs. The cities are also analyzing the layout of sewer lines, helping to determine the level of investment in infrastructure that should be made in what could eventually be part of a flood zone. And the extent of damage to any structure increases dramatically when higher seas are factored in. Studies have shown the number of buildings that would sustain 50 percent or greater damage more than quadruples with seven feet of sea level rise. The 50-percent gauge is noteworthy as any building with damage greater than that cannot simply be repaired but must be rebuilt in compliance with the latest building...

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Narraganset Bay Applauds Field’s Point Wastewater Plant

Nov 05

Narraganset Bay Applauds Field’s Point Wastewater Plant

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) recently hosted its Utility Leadership and Annual Meeting in Providence.  It was also a celebration of NACWA’s 45th anniversary.  NACWA’s recent conference examined the concept known as the “city of the future,” the right balance between sustainable rates and affordability concerns.  The Narragansett Bay Water Quality District Commission was formed in 1980. The Commission is to maintain a leadership role in the protection and enhancement of water quality in Narragansett Bay and its tributaries by providing safe and reliable wastewater collection and treatment services to its customers at a reasonable cost. Today, the Narragansett Bay Commission owns and operates Rhode Island’s two largest wastewater treatment plants along with an extensive infrastructure of interceptors, pump stations, tide gates and combined sewers. One of the wastewater treatment plants under the Commission’s domain is the Field’s Point Wastewater Treatment Facility. Constructed in 1901 and reconstructed in the 1980s, “Field’s Point” provides secondary treatment for flows of up to 77 million gallons per day (MGD).  Field’s Point facility has won many other awards for design, operations, maintenance, energy management and safety. Field’s Point treats wastewater from four Rhode Island communities, including the capital city of Providence, and many of the sewer lines transporting flow to the facility date back to the mid-19th century. The Narraganset Bay Commission (NBC) brought online a 65-million gallon capacity deep rock tunnel to store CSO flows. The three-mile long, 300-ft deep tunnel captures and stores storm-related flow and pumps the flow to Field’s Point for treatment. The tunnel is the centerpiece of the first phase of the NBC’s three-phase comprehensive long term control plan for CSOs. In the six years since the tunnel has been in operation, the NBC has captured and treated more than 6.6 billion gallons of CSO...

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