The Public Utilities Division is responsible for operating and maintaining the City of Danbury’s Water Division, water utility infrastructure, sanitary sewer infrastructure, which includes several large water supply dams, a closed landfill, landfill gas collection system, and administering programs for recycling and disposal of solid waste. The Public Utilities Division is also responsible for maintaining the majority of the City’s fleet of vehicles, and the entire fleet of Police Department patrol vehicles.
The Public Utilities Division oversees the contract operation of the City’s Water Pollution Control Plant in accordance with the Wastewater Treatment Facility Service Agreement between the City of Danbury and Veolia Water North America. The Public Utilities Division also oversees the contract operation of a public yard waste management processing center, located on Plumtrees Road, in accordance with the Agreement between the City of Danbury and Total Landscaping and Tree Service.
Public Utilities staffing presently consists of 37 positions, including the Superintendent. Division staffing consists of administrative and customer service personnel, water and sewer utility maintenance and construction personnel, water treatment personnel, water quality and technical services personnel, and vehicle and equipment maintenance personnel.
The Public Utilities Division operates and is driven to achieve three core missions.
The Danbury Water Division (DWD) continues to focus on the core mission “To provide our customers with adequate quantities of high-quality water that meets or exceeds the standards established for the protection of Public Health, as well as provide sufficient fire flow for the protection of public and private property.”
The DWD presently produces about 6.5 million gallons of water per day through daily management of a water supply system that consists of 8 reservoirs, 1 well site, 2 water treatment plants, 14 pump stations, 9 storage tanks, 200 miles of water pipe and 2100 fire hydrants. Our water’s quality is continually verified through 24-hour monitoring by water plant operators and through daily testing. About 27,000 water tests are performed annually to monitor water quality. Approximately 11,000 water service line meters are in place and are used to bill customers for water use. The current population of customers served by the DWD is approximately 65,000 people.
Annual inspection and routine maintenance of our 8 water supply dams continue to ensure that they remain in good condition. We actively work with the City Fire Department to ensure fire hydrants are annually tested and repaired and replaced as needed. Ongoing system improvements include the completion of the new 1 million gallon concrete water storage tank at the WestConn Pump Station site.
The Sewer Division has a mission “To provide the City of Danbury and the neighboring Region with sound disposal and treatment methods for wastewater and septic system wastes to ensure the protection of human health and the preservation of the environment”.
The Danbury Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) provides wastewater and septage treatment for Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, Ridgefield, and Newtown, and also accepts septage from New Fairfield, Redding, and Bridgewater, and some out of region towns. The WPCP currently treats an average wastewater flow of 9 million gallons per day and an average septage load of 10 million gallons per year. In addition to WPCP operations, oversight of the sanitary sewer collection system involves operation and maintenance of 20 sewer pump stations, 164 miles of sewer line, and 4,500 sewer manholes.
Our capacity, management, operation, and maintenance (CMOM) program continues to be optimized to reduce the occurrence of sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) events. The implementation of our fats, oils, and grease (FOG) prevention program through site inspections and FOG compliance education of all food preparation establishments is helping reduce SSO events from occurring in our sewer collection system.
In Calendar Year 2017, the successful operation of our WPCP’s interim nitrogen removal facility by Veolia Water not only resulted in a net savings of $1 million vs. the cost of purchasing nitrogen credits had the system not been operating, but also resulted in the City being paid $40,866 by CT DEEP due to the WPCP removing more nitrogen then was required in the General Permit for Nitrogen Dischargers. The use of reclaimed methanol, when available, continues to help reduce the chemical cost of operating this system. We continue to make improvements to the existing nitrogen removal system to further reduce overall nitrogen removal and to the existing phosphorus removal system to ensure compliance with the current NPDES permit for seasonal phosphorus removal limits of 0.6 mg/l.
Sewer collection system improvements include the completion of the Oakland Avenue Sewer Replacement Project which will increase sewer capacity. WPCP improvements include installation of a new gas cover at the digester complex, installation of new belt filter presses at the dewatering complex and start of the WPCP Facilities Upgrade Design. Upgrades are required to meet stringent long term nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) removal discharge permit requirements and are required to replace existing aging systems and equipment.
Lastly, the Recycling and Solid Waste Division has a mission, “To administer programs, which provide Danbury residents with environmentally sound methods for management of solid waste”. The Public Utilities Division oversees the operation of the yard waste management program as well as coordinates Regional Household Hazardous Waste Collection events in our City. The City’s Electronic (E) Waste Recycling Program was implemented in 2011 and allows resident drop-off of E-Waste at the Winters Brothers site at 307 White Street.
The Public Utilities Division continues to operate the Landfill Gas Collection and Treatment Facility in compliance with the Department of Environmental Protection permits and regulatory standards. The Danbury Landfill is a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) land disposal site and has been closed since 1997. The closed landfill is operated under a CT DEEP Stewardship Permit which consolidates all closure requirements of the landfill under a single permit, and defines end points for the continued long term operation of this closed disposal site.
We will also be reviewing the feasibility of installing a solar power system at the Danbury Landfill.