Located about 45 miles from Boston and 190 miles from New York City, the wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) in Burrillville discharges to the Clear River. The river rises from a swamp southeast of Burrillville and flows east to converge with the Chepachet River. It serves a population of approximately 16,000 people, as well as industrial clients. Prior to 2017, the wastewater flow consisted of headworks, and primary clarification, followed by secondary extended aeration, secondary clarification and chlorine treatment for disinfection prior to discharge into the Clear River.
Like many municipalities across North America facing environmental concerns over phosphorus-driven algae blooms, Burrillville was given an updated Total Phosphorus (TP) limit of 0.1 mg/L, a limit the pre-existing treatment was unable to achieve. Additionally, the facility was facing a requirement to remove trace metals (specifically copper) from the wastewater prior to discharge. Engineers went looking for a solution.