March 22, 2019 is World Water Day, a United Nations initiative to celebrate water and advocate for sustainable management of resources. The City of Concord invites the community to get involved by learning more about wastewater.
Wastewater is used water. It’s the water after you wash your hands, brush your teeth, take a shower, do laundry, wash dishes, or flush the toilet. What happens to water after it is used? Where does it go?
For developing countries and low-income areas, wastewater is often directly discharged into the closest surface water drain with very little to no treatment. Approximately 80% of wastewater worldwide (from homes, cities, industry, and agriculture) flows back into nature without being treated or reused. Untreated wastewater can pollute the environment with negative impacts to public health and local wildlife.
For developed countries and high-income areas, sewer collection systems and wastewater treatment facilities operate to collect wastewater from residential, commercial, and industrial properties to be treated according to federal and local standards before being returned to a nearby body of water.
In Concord, there are approximately 9,400 connections to the City’s sanitary sewer system. Roughly 168 miles of underground pipe stretch across the city to collect wastewater and transport it either the Penacook Wastewater Treatment Facility or the Hall Street Wastewater Treatment Facility. On average, 4.3 million gallons of wastewater are processed daily to protect Concord’s public health and the local environment. The reclaimed water is properly disinfected, tested regularly for quality standards, and recovered safely back into the Merrimack River. The Merrimack River used to be one of the most polluted rivers in the country until the Clean Water Act strengthened standards in 1972 for discharge pollutants and surface water quality. The Penacook Wastewater Treatment Facility was built a year later, and the Hall Street Wastewater Treatment Facility was built shortly after that in 1979. The City’s investments for sustainable wastewater management has since improved the quality of the Merrimack River and protected local ecosystems.
In celebration of World Water Day, Concord residents are invited to join Concord General Services on March 22 for an open house of their Hall Street Wastewater Treatment Facility. Stop by the administration building at 125 Hall Street any time between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. for a facility tour and a walk-through of the treatment process. Attendees should be advised that odor emissions have reduced significantly over the years through past facility improvements, but some odors are still present due to the natural treatment process.