The Town of Newmarket, NH was selected as the “overall winner” of the American Council of Engineering Companies of New Hampshire (ACEC-NH) 2018 Engineering Excellence Awards for the upgrade project recently completed on the Town’s wastewater treatment facility (WWTF). The annual ACEC awards program recognizes engineering projects which “epitomize quality, innovation, value, and client satisfaction.”

The winning project is a significant step, as part of a comprehensive effort by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), toward improving water quality in the NH Great Bay Estuary by reducing the total nitrogen (TN) concentrations in effluent of the region’s WWTFs. Since startup of the Newmarket WWTF in the summer of 2017, the facility has achieved lower effluent TN concentration levels than required by the state and federal mandates.

“Through close collaboration from project start through construction, among the Town Department of Environmental Services, Wright-Pierce engineers, and Apex Construction, this $11 million, five-year project was completed on schedule and under budget allowing use of set-aside change order funds to accomplish additional improvements.” stated Sean Greig, Water and Wastewater Superintendent for the Town of Newmarket. “Our measurement of project success is the improved water quality of the Lamprey River and Great Bay, increased operation flexibility, and decreased operations/maintenance costs.”

The quality of the Lamprey River and providing the Town of Newmarket the most cost-effective solution were prominent goals throughout this upgrade. According to Wright-Pierce Project Manager Michael Theriault, “Given the magnitude of this WWTF upgrade project in the Newmarket community, it was important to educate and increase public awareness about the role of wastewater treatment and engineering in sustaining a healthy environment in the Lamprey River Watershed and Great Bay Estuary.”

The lower portion of the Lamprey River, where Newmarket is located, is recognized by the National Park Service as a Wild and Scenic River; a distinction shared only with one other New Hampshire river, and illustrates the importance of the river in the region. Theriault added, “As responsible environmental stewards, the Town made it a priority to protect this resource. Wright-Pierce was an enthusiastic partner with the Town and other watershed communities in educating the public about local water quality issues through distribution of educational circulars in water and sewer billings, as well as communications posted on the Town website and distributed more widely through efforts with the New Hampshire Water Pollution Control Association.”

The project included a full conversion of the WWTF from a trickling filter treatment process to a new 4-Stage Bardenpho process, including improvements to the influent pump station, new aeration tanks, secondary clarifiers, a new control building, dewatering upgrades, pump and equipment replacement, digester conversion, and primary clarifier mechanism replacement. This award-winning upgrade improved WWTF effluent quality, surpassing EPA and NPDES requirements, and the Town is now positioned to cost-effectively meet future, more stringent, effluent limitations.

Project photos can be found on the ACEC-NH Engineering Excellence Award website.