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Dedication ceremony of 3M reclaimed water project on May 22

Posted Thursday, May 20, 2010

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Pittsboro, NC - A formal dedication ceremony of the reclaimed water project will take place on May 22 at the 3M facility at 4191 Hwy 87 South in Moncure, NC 27559.

The focus of this reclaimed water project is to transport treated wastewater from the Town of Pittsboro waste- water treatment plant for industrial use at the 3M facility five miles south of town. 3M can use roughly 125,000 to 200,000 gallons per day of treated wastewater to cool their roofing granule product and for dust suppression on site. Prior to the implementation of this project, 3M was consuming potable water supplied by Chatham County for their process water.

3M uses the wastewater for two purposes: (1) Managing environmental concerns of the reduction of dust and the handling of fines, a byproduct of the crushing process. (2) For cooling heat treated granules prior to conveying and storage.

The project consists of three public components and one private component funded by 3M: (1) a 315 gallon per minute reclaimed water pump station located at the Pittsboro wastewater treatment plant, (2) approximately 25,000 feet of 8” reclaimed water transmission mains, and (3) a 500,000-gallon reclaimed water storage tank located on top of a hill between Pittsboro and 3M.

These 3 parts of the project had a total budget of $2,570,000, funded entirely through grants provided by the North Carolina Department of Commerce (CDBG), Clean Water Management Trust Fund, and EPA STAG. This aspect of the project was completed slightly under budget. The fourth part of the project was the connection by 3M. 3M made equipment modifications to transport, introduce and control the reclaimed water to the key parts of its manufacturing process. This part of the project was funded by 3M.

This project is an excellent example of public and private partnership to improve the community and environment. It allowed private industry to remain competitive and secure jobs. This type of “out of the box thinking” is a marriage of need and supply that benefits everyone. The significant benefits created by this project are:

1) Town of Pittsboro gets an outlet for treated water, reducing discharge to streams and creating additional permit capacity when transmitting water to 3M.

2) Town of Pittsboro also receives a long term commitment (20 yrs) to purchase the water. Since capital for the first three parts of the project was funded through grant money, the town receives a new revenue stream to help support water treatment operations and pay for operating costs.

3) Demand for potable water is traded for reclaimed water, allowing potable water use for community and public needs. This is especially critical during times of drought.

4) 3M purchases a reliable, usable, low cost source of reclaimed water rather than utilizing capacity in the Chatham County water system.

The reclaim water project was originally conceived in 1999 during the 3M plant construction planning. This project was intended to supplement the current 3M plant design of treating and reusing sanitary discharge water in the process. This allows 3M to have no sewer discharge from the site.

There was great team work and support by Chatham County, led by Charlie Horne (County Manager), the Economic Development Corporation of Chatham County, led by Tony Tucker and the engineering firm of Hobbs, Upchurch and Associates PA, anchored by Fred Hobbs, Adam Kiker and Sharon McDuffy. These team supported the conception of the idea along with funding strategy. In addition, Hydrostructures, PA of Pittsboro, led by engineers Jay Johnston, Becky Smith and Pete Domas were instrumental in project design and construction administration.

The project construction began in May 2009 and was completed in April 2010 with 3M final connections. The reclaimed water system has been tested and in operation over the last month saving over one million gallons of potable water so far with the opportunity to save between two and three million gallons of potable water per month.

The Town of Pittsboro and 3M have worked closely on this project and are excited to see its completion. This project demonstrates how public and private sectors can work together to create environmentally sustainable systems for the betterment of all involved.

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