Town of Provincetown
FY 2024 Budget
Wastewater Enterprise Fund
The Provincetown Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) is a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) plant, located at the Town’s Old Burn Dump on Route 6. It was placed into service in 2003 with an initial treatment capacity of 500,000 gallons per day (GPD) with a future build-out treatment capacity of 750,000 GPD with additional upgrades. Following the construction of a flow equalization tank and other process upgrades, the WWTF is now permitted to treat a maximum day flow (MDF) of up to 750,000 GPD.
The treatment facility is an advanced secondary wastewater treatment plant which utilizes a combination of physical separation and biological treatment operations. Wastewater from the collection system is pumped to the WWTF where it is equalized and pumped to the headworks for screening of debris and settling/removal of grit. Flow is then directed to two (2) SBRs, which operate on a staggered batch schedule. The SBRs utilize microorganisms (biomass) to biologically treat the wastewater using alternating anoxic and aerobic reaction phases. These phases are followed by periods for settling of the biomass, and decanting of the treated effluent.
The decanted wastewater from the SBRs flows by gravity to a post equalization tank and then to cloth disk filters for final polishing of suspended solids. From the disk filters, flow continues by gravity through ultraviolet (UV) disinfection trays. Treated effluent then flows by gravity to the subsurface effluent disposal beds located along Route 6 for ultimate disposal and groundwater recharge. Excess biomass generated by the treatment process is thickened and transported off site for treatment and disposal.
Provincetown has been able to increase the capacity of the wastewater system over the past 10 years through tracking actual operating flow versus assessed Title 5 flow, and more recently through the addition of a flow equalization tank and other wastewater process upgrades. However, there are limits to what technology can do given the constraints of the plant site. The original system was envisioned only to serve the critical areas within the downtown area. Since then demand to connect to the system has grown but now that this capacity is limited, some are beginning to question whether additional capacity will be needed. The available system capacity is clearly a scarce resource and one that the Town will need to carefully manage in the future. Given the Town’s important needs and the continuing interest, Town boards and the voters appropriated funding to undertake the planning and engineering studies needed to identify options for serving additional flow and users in the future.
Since February 2015, the WWTF has been in a state of so-called “limited capacity” with only approximately 30,000 gpd of available Title 5 flow. Of this amount, 4,000 gpd was allocated for EDP requests, 6,775 gpd for public health needs (failed septic systems), 11,095 gpd to community housing needs and 1,335 gpd for municipal needs.
The Wastewater Enterprise budget is increasing by 0.2% which reflects a minor increase in debt service principle and interest associated with the sewer system expansion Phase 5 and as approved by USDA Rural Development Grant/Loan program. The budget is consistent with the proforma prepared during the rate study.
Major Accomplishments for 2023
FY 2024 Objectives
The foremost objective for FY2023 is to extend the available wastewater capacity by 125,000 GPD of Title 5 flow. The Peak Flow Storage Tank should be online by the start of FY22 with full build-out by the end of the fiscal year. This expansion will allow the Town to serve more requests for sewer flow thereby serving our communities needs.