Residents Enjoy Tour of Deer Island
Arlington residents and employees took an informative tour of the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority's Deer Island wastewater treatment plant on June 18.
Among the visitors was Paul Fennelly, shown above, in the walkway at the top of one of the eight anaerobic digestor eggs at the facility. At the time Deer Island was built in from 1991 to 2001, Mr. Fennelly led a technical team responsible for some of the air quality monitoring systems.
The Deer Island facility processes over 300 million gallons of sewage daily, with the potential to process 1.3 billion gallons. Serving 43 rate-paying communities, the plant is the second largest of its kind in the U.S. Because the plant is built at the tip of Winthrop and along the shoreline, it has been designed to run even in the event that it is physically cut off from the mainland by a storm. It is also designed to be protected from up to six feet of sea level rise.
Below, Arlington visitors are standing in front of the anaerobic digestor eggs. This is where bacteria help process the wastewater solids into both methane gas and bio solids, solids that are further processed into landscape fertilizer. The methane gas is harvested and fed back into the operations of the facility. This gas, in addition to ground mounted solar and wind turbines, combine to produce 20% of the energy used to process all the wastewater. Thanks to Nadia and Chris from MWRA for providing this wonderful experience.