'Historic day' as officials unveil sewer pump station

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Energy-saving measures in facility save town $50K

By Kyle Stucker

Hampton Union, May 30, 2014

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Church Street Pumping Station

HAMPTON — The story's a well-known one in Hampton's municipal circles. When Public Works Director Keith Noyes started on the job in mid-2011, he went out on a tour of all of the stations and plants that compose the town's wastewater treatment system.

The tour started at the Church Street pump station, which is responsible for pumping all of Hampton Beach's sewage to the treatment plant. It's there that the tour also abruptly stopped, just mere minutes after it began, because Noyes was shocked at the level of disrepair and inefficiency within the aging structure.

Over the last three years, Noyes has often told the story of how he started his campaign to fix one of the most important buildings on the beach, although he was beaming Thursday because it marked the first time he could tell it while standing inside the completed state-of-the-art replacement for the Church Street pump station.

"A new sewer pump station isn't as romantic as a new fire station...; but it's just as important," said Noyes.

The town of Hampton officially celebrated the completion of the plant Thursday during a ceremony in which Unitil gave the town a $50,652 rebate check for a number of energy-saving measures installed as part of the new station.

The old station, which was demolished in April, was originally constructed in 1935 and was last updated in the mid 1980s. Rotating the station's three pumps in and out of service — which is done to evenly distribute wear and tear on the machinery — used to be done manually, although new technology allows Hampton to automate that process as well as electronically and automatically adjust the flow intake.

Dave Romilly, one of the Wright-Pierce environmental engineers on the project, said these changes dramatically reduce energy consumption as well as make the station more operator-friendly.

The plant also has a number of other energy-conserving measures, including the fact that the station's three old pumps, which had a combined 230 horsepower, were replaced with three 30-horsepower pumps that are able to handle a higher overall flow thanks to a design that better utilizes both of the sewer force mains connected to the building, according to Romilly.

"We really wanted to make sure the town got a real robust system (that saved money and energy)," said Romilly, adding that the pumps will continue to function even if they are submerged during a flood within the station. "(The old station) was just a nightmare...; We're very pleased."

Tim Noonis, Unitil's senior business development manager, said the machinery will in total save Hampton roughly 1.5 million kWh over its lifetime. He said it was a "great pleasure" to work with the town and Wright-Pierce on the project because of their focus on building a structure aimed at being as efficient as possible.

The new efficiencies didn't come at the expense of local taxpayers, either. The project — approved at the 2012 Town Meeting — came in at $3.5 million, which is roughly half of what Noyes and town officials originally projected.

Noyes said those savings, as well as the fact that there were only $12,000 in change orders, were achieved despite the fact that the construction was delayed for multiple months due to issues caused by the area's high water table. The water table made the site's dewatering process tricky and required that additional concrete to be used to ensure the lower floors of the station didn't become buoyant, according to Noyes.

Selectmen Chairman Phil Bean and other town officials said Thursday the new station is a stark contrast to the previous structure, and they commended the work of those involved to achieve that result.

"This is an historic day," said Bean.

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