In December 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency changed its standards for what constitutes the purity of drinking water and, as a result, Hyde School began a three-year project to build an on-campus water purification system in order to meet the new standard. Known as the “European standard,” the new standard marked an 80 percent decrease in the maximum contaminant level of parts of arsenic permitted per billion parts of water, among others.
“The new standard states that there can be 10 parts arsenic to every billion parts water, which is about one drop in a bucket,” says Hyde School Facilities Director Gary Giambattista. “Our level was 22 parts to every billion parts due to naturally occurring arsenic in the bedrock, a level that met standards before this change.”
After two years of research, Hyde School contracted G. Donovan Associates to head the project, beginning in April 2010. Aqua-Pump, Co. was then sub-contracted for the arsenic removal system. Victor Nigro, Jr., vice-president of Aqua-Pump and a Connecticut-certified water treatment operator, is leading the installation of the new system with Giambattista.
The new treatment plant consists of three main parts: water enters through a pump from two underground wells and is initially chlorinated in order to begin purification and to make the media for arsenic removal more effective. From there, water travels through two 300-gallon treatment tanks, where the arsenic is removed from the water in a redundant system. Purified water is then transported to a 20,000-gallon storage tank, where it is kept until needed. The system finishes with a booster pump system that continuously checks and maintains water pressure based upon usage and demand.
“The new system provides treatment, extra storage, and higher flow rates if needed,” adds Nigro. “Additionally, it should reduce energy costs, as the booster pumps constantly monitor energy expenditure and need.”
To house the system, a 24- by 40-foot extension was built on the end of the facilities building at Hyde School.
This new treatment facility will be the fourth largest treatment facility of its kind in the country.
“The hope is to have the project completed by December 31, going online during Christmas break,” says Giambattista. “Then, we’ll have some of the cleanest, tastiest drinking water around.”