Philadelphia has secured $ 100 million to build a “big-ticket” pollution control facility to help curb the practice of dumping raw sewage and stormwater into streams during heavy rains.

The state has given the Philadelphia Water Department a low-interest $ 100 million loan to build a pretreatment facility to increase the capacity of the Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant. The water department on Monday called the Richmond and Wheatsheaf Street treatment plant in Port Richmond a “costly and sustainable infrastructure project” unlike anything the city has attempted since a wave of funded wastewater treatment projects by the federal government in the 1980s.

The new plant will filter and remove inorganic material – waste, sand and gravel that wash away storm entrances – and allow the Northeast plant to nearly half its wet-weather treatment capacity, from 435 million gallons to 650 million gallons per day.

The money for the project comes from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority’s PENNVEST program, which funds sewage, stormwater and potable water projects across the state. The Philadelphia loan represented more than half of the $ 178 million in statewide PENNVEST infrastructure awards that Governor Tom Wolf announced last week.

Philadelphia, like many older cities, needs to reduce untreated discharge from its old combined sewer systems, which carry rainwater as well as raw sewage. During some storms, the volume of wastewater is too large to be treated by water treatment plants, and the excess is discharged into waterways.

Under an ordinance with the consent of the federal government, in 2011 the city adopted a Green city, clean waters initiative reduce discharges to comply with Clean Water Act obligations. The plan calls for the elimination of approximately eight billion gallons of sewer overflow per year by 2036.

“Philadelphia’s decades-long plan to reduce combined sewer overflows has just received a huge boost,” Philadelphia Department of Water Commissioner Randy E. Hayman said in a statement. “We are delighted to move forward with this essential part of our efforts. This fiscally responsible investment gives us much more muscle and capacity, dramatically reducing water pollution that impacts our rivers and streams. “

The project was designed by Whitman, Requardt & Associates, LLP, a Baltimore engineering firm. His building plans include a green roof and two-stage odor control system to meet Clean Air Act requirements.

The 18,000 square foot building will house two six-foot magnetic flow meters and six mechanically cleaned bar screens and associated screen transport and collection systems. According to State Senator John Sabatina Jr., a Democrat from Philadelphia whose Northeast District of Philadelphia includes the plant just south of the Betsy Ross Bridge, the designs require six 26-foot hydraulically-induced vortex sand tanks. of diameter.

“In addition to the many jobs created by this funding, there are enormous health benefits for our community,” Sabatina said in a statement.

The project is expected to last four years and is expected to start operating at the end of 2025.

The project is funded by the Clean Water State Revolving Funds, a federal program that provided $ 45 billion to states for infrastructure loan funds. As loans are repaid, states recycle the funds into new loans. State programs provided $ 138 billion to communities through 2019, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. In Pennsylvania, the money is administered by PENNVEST.

In addition to the $ 100 million loan, PENNVEST last week provided a $ 6.7 million loan to the Philadelphia Water Department to help pay green stormwater upgrades in the Lawcrest neighborhood, with construction dates to be announced.

The agency also awarded the City of Chester Stormwater Authority $ 10 million to address localized flooding in the Veteran’s Park area of ​​the City of Chester by installing approximately 1,600 feet of pipes, inlets, signs porous and a stormwater control pond.

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