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Expansion of Mill Pond Water Treatment Plant Moves Forward

At the December 2, 2021 meeting of the Burlington Planning Board, DPW Director John Sanchez presented a plan for modifications to the existing Mill Pond Water Treatment Plant and the construction of an adjacent PFAS filter building.

As reported by BNEWS in June 2021 the filter is meant to remove PFAS from the water supply. PFAS are a family of manmade chemicals used for non-stick coatings and firefighting foams among a list of other products. Manufacturing of certain PFAS was discontinued in the U.S. decades ago, but they may still be used in imported products and they are resilient and do not degrade easily in soil and water and as a result, they are widely found in the environment and many consumer products where they migrate to the food supply and drinking water.

In September, Town Meeting voted to appropriate $15 million in funding for the design, construction, programming and configuration of a filter addition for the Mill Pond Plant.

Sanchez proposed what he called a creative approach to the design and construction of the facility using three different contractors to save time. Due to supplyline issues the PFAS filters will go out to bid separately from the piping and valves. The actual construction will also be its own contract.

Amy Coppers Costantino of Wright-Pierce: Environmental Engineering Firm is Lead Engineer on the project and presented to the board. The plan calls for adding equipment to the existing facilities to pump water to the new PFAS filter building. The new filter structure will be built with the flexibility to add future filters if needed. The PFAS filters themselves are pressure filled with granular carbon which absorbs PFAS. The system is also designed with lead and lag filters providing extra filtration for PFAS.

The Planning Board voted to continue the matter to their January 6th meeting to gather comments from the Board of Health and Conservation Commission.

At the January 6, 2022 meeting of the Planning Board Town Engineer Tom Hayes updated the board on adjustments to the storm water system. The project was unanimously approved and construction is slated to begin in April 2022.

The DPW is planning to have Burlington’s PFAS filter system operational by the end of 2022 with the updated Mill Pond Water Treatment Plant fully completed in 2023.