In 2008, when New Jersey American Water acquired the Pottersville Sewage Treatment Plant in Pottersville, there were a lot of words such as antiquated and polluting, to describe the facility. Compliant, as in with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regulations, was not one of them. The company took over the plant from its former owners as part of an administrative consent order issued by the DEP. Based on the extensive $3 million rebuild completed by the company, the DEP lifted its consent order, saying that all its terms had been met. Today, the plant can be called compliant and much, much more.
- The United State Fish and Wildlife calls it “a great example of how a corporate landowner can take the initiative.”
- The New Jersey Audubon Association calls it a demonstration of commitment to restoring New Jersey’s habitat.
- The DEP gave the new plant its Environmental Quality Award for outstanding work to enhance the quality of the environment in New Jersey, and going “beyond compliance.”
- The New Jersey Business & Industry Association called the company’s effort “a wonderful story that deserves to be told.”
The new Pottersville plant includes: Two new ultraviolet disinfection units; a disk filtration system to improve waste removal; a trash trap to prevent treatment upsets; new aerators to improve microbial treatment; a new post-aeration tank; a new generator for improved reliability during power outages; removal of invasive vegetation around the plant, allowing the soils at the site to be exposed to the sun for the first time in years; and the planting more than 600 native plant species at the site by employee volunteers and staff from NJ Audubon and USF&W.
“The combination of our acquisition and reconstruction of a failed waste water system, and our habitat restoration program is an environmental success story,” said Suzanne Chiavari, vice president of Engineering at New Jersey American Water. “It’s another positive example of where we make a difference, in New Jersey.”