Allentown Borough Wastewater Treatment Plant Modifications

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NJ I-Bank Project of the Week: Allentown Borough receives $4,498,940 in Water Bank loans saving ratepayers approximately $1,615,098.

Allentown Borough recently completed clean water improvements that are being financed with approximately $4.5 million in loans from the NJ Water Bank, a low-rate funding program jointly administered by the DEP and the NJ I-Bank. Including interest cost savings, total savings for this project is estimated to be $1,615,098 over the 30-year term of the loan or 36% of the total project cost. In addition, this project created an estimated 53 direct construction jobs. 

The Borough of Allentown owns and operates a Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), that has been in operation since the 1960’s with original equipment. Despite maintaining the facility with minor repairs, the deteriorated components, dated processes, and growing maintenance costs resulted in NJDEP water quality violations.

Based on the plant’s location surrounded by environmentally critical areas, it was essential that any proposed modifications to the WWTP be designed to be compact. The plant sits in a low-lying area of the borough surrounded by preserved Green Acres lands and Doctor’s Creek. It lies within the 100-year Flood Hazard area and is surrounded by freshwater wetlands.

This project included a full replacement and upgrade of the treatment process, inadequate electric system, and outdated plant control system. The Borough replaced the original failing WWTP with a more efficient integrated fixed-film activated sludge (IFAS) plant. Sand filters, rotating biological contactors, a trickling filter, and a sludge holding tank were replaced by the IFAS plant and a higher capacity sludge tank. 

Thomas C. Fritts, Mayor of Allentown Borough, noted that “(t)he IFAS system is not commonly used in the United States as a primary treatment process but provides intense treatment in a small footprint which was essential due to site limitations restricting possible designs. Strategic borrowing from the NJ Water Bank has enabled us to implement the first IFAS primary treatment system in NJ while providing financial savings to our ratepayers at the same time.”

This project was designed by Roberts Engineering and received the following awards in 2022:

·American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) NJ Chapter - Project of the Year Award – 1st Place

·Society of Professional Engineers NJ Chapter - Project of the Year Award – 1st Place

·NJ Society of Municipal Engineers - Project of the Year – 2nd Place

The project was constructed by Pact Two, LLC.

Pictures courtesy of Roberts Engineering

Published July 2023