Montpelier wastewater plant to benefit from $20M upgrade

Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 4:29 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Over $20 million is headed to Montpelier for environmental upgrades to the city’s wastewater management facility.

Capital City and state leaders gathered with USDA officials Tuesday to announce the investment. “We have aging infrastructure that is being upgraded, which is always critical,” said Christopher Cox, the chief operator of the Montpelier facility.

The city gave officials a tour to showcase the plants aging infrastructure and to show off what’s coming. “Two secondary clarifiers -- we are also installing odor control,” Cox explained. But the bulk of the investment, he said, will go toward biosolids drier and gasifier to extract as much energy from the waste as possible. “To take more energy out of the solids that we are sending to the landfill.”

The city says the investment dovetails with a prior 2020 upgrade to use organics brought to the facility to create gas through a digester, and ultimately expanding energy to power the facility. “Two major projects in five years is pretty good,” Cox said.

“They are sort of pushing the boundaries on technology for environmental practices,” said the USDA’s Sarah Waring. The federal agency is funding $17 million of the project with another $3 million coming from a Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation grant. Waring says investments like this are critical to expand communities. “There is no business that you will want to bring into a town that’s going to come into your town if you don’t have extra capacity in your wastewater system.” long-term

Waring and DEC officials encouraged other municipalities to follow suit, whether it be capacity upgrades to alleviate a bottleneck for home and business development, or like in Montpelier, where they aim to create a more efficient system. “This is about long term economic development,” she said.

The city says the upgrades benefit not only local residents but also neighboring communities. “Just give the region a good opportunity for them to manage their solids properly,” Cox said.

The project is slated to be completed around the summer of 2025 at the earliest.

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