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Millipore working on new wastewater treatment plant

  • MilliporeSigma in Jaffrey. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 8:29AM

Representatives of MilliporeSigma met with Jaffrey’s planning board last week for a preliminary discussion about the construction of a new onsite wastewater treatment plant. 

Hugh Tozer, a service line leader for Woodard and Curran, who has been contracted by Millipore for the project, said that the system – which includes an 800,000 gallon anaerobic treatment system – needs to be operational by 2020.

“This really will provide some benefits, not just to Millipore, but also to the Jaffrey treatment plant in terms of reducing the load at the Jaffrey treatment plant, which is the major driver for this project,” said Tozer, during the May 8 meeting. 

Representatives of Millipore did not answer follow-up questions from the Ledger-Transcript, instead releasing a statement on Wednesday afternoon. 

“MilliporeSigma’s new wastewater treatment plant investment is required to support new, town-issued industrial discharge permit limits that will become effective in late 2020,” wrote company spokesperson Karen Tiano. “To meet these new limits and effectively treat future site wastewater flows, MilliporeSigma is investing in a higher capacity wastewater treatment system. This investment is reflective of MilliporeSigma’s continued commitment to Jaffrey, New Hampshire and the surrounding communities. Additionally, the investment will support the future growth at MilliporeSigma‘s Jaffrey facility.”

Douglas Starr, town engineer with Jaffrey’s public works department, said Monday morning that the discharge permit limits are a combination of the amount of wastewater generated and its quality and are set in conjunction with the EPA and state Department of Environmental Services (DES). The limits are updated every five to seven years, according to Starr. 

Millipore is one of two companies in town that has to abide by the discharge permit limits. The other company is DD Bean. 

Millipore settled a lawsuit with the EPA and U.S. government and the Environmental Protection Agency in February 2017 after allegedly violating the federal Clean Water Act several times between February 2011 to March 2015.

A complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire on Jan. 30, 2017 alleged that Millipore indirectly discharged several pollutants – including ammonia, total suspended solids, and oxygen-demanding pollutants – into its on-site waste water treatment plant, which eventually feed’s into the town’s facility and then the Contoocook River. 

The day after the original complaint was filed, Millipore submitted paperwork agreeing to upgrade its wastewater treatment facility and pay $385,000 in fines.

Tozer told the planning board that there are multiple types of wastewater developed at the company’s Jaffrey facility, including a low-flow, high-strength process waste water created during the production process, a larger-flow, more-diluted device waste water also generated by the production of the company’s filtration devices, and sanitary waste water. 

The process waste water will be treated with an anaerobic digester, which uses bacteria to break down 85-90-percent chemical oxygen demand (COD). Solid wastes produced by this process will be disposed of offsite. 

Biogas produced from the treatment plant – a mix of carbon dioxide and methane, according to Tozer – has the potential to be reused in the company’s biomass plant onsite. Any remaining biogas would have to be burned off with a flare, estimated to be 12-to-15-feet in height. 

After being processed by Millipore’s plant, the wastewater will go to the town’s wastewater treatment plant. 

Exact specs for the plant were not provided at the meeting, but Lauren Swett a technical manager for Woodard and Curran said the plant would be placed toward the back of the Jaffrey site, near Eastwood Drive. 

Tozer said he hopes to start with a partial permit to start with some onsite clearing. At least a good portion of the construction will need to be completed by 2019 so that Millipore has time to fill up and make the treatment system operational. 

“Bring a clean application and it will probably go pretty smoothly, I would think… we appreciate your presence in this community,” said Planning Board chair Tim Gordon.

Tozer did say that there may be a variance request involved with the project. Based on where the plant is projected to be built, a waiver from the 75-foot wetlands setback may be required.

Tozer said a functions assessment of the wetlands may be done, to ensure there would be no issues. Tozer said the construction would fall within the buffer but would not be on the wetland in question. 

Millipore is also working toward a solution with the town relative to its water usage, according to Starr. 

Starr said that in the past, town water had been used to supplement Millipore’s wells, but more recently the company has had to rely completely on the town’s three wells for its water needs. Starr said the company has had regular meetings with the town and is working to find a solution. 

DPW Director Randy Heglin told the select board in January that Millipore’s wells were down, causing the company to use around 2 million gallons of water per month, up from about 400,000 gallons per month. 

“I don’t know if our sources can sustain that in the long term,” said Heglin, during the Jan. 22 meeting.