In 1965 the Town of Canton constructed a sewage treatment facility designed to treat an average of 375,000 gallons per day. Sewage treatment at that time consisted of the settling of solids, grease and scum collection, partial removal of soluble wastes and disinfection of the effluent water with a chlorine gas prior to discharge into the Farmington River. The solids collected were stored in two tanks called digesters. After being reduced in volume by bacteria, the sludge from the digesters was land filled. This facility served the town well past its 20 year design life.
As the years went by, there were new and more stringent regulations from the State of Ct. Department of Environmental Protection. At the same time wastewater flows to the facility continued to increase, and the Farmington River became an important source of recreation. Around 1987 The Canton Water Pollution Control Authority recommended expanding the facility to better serve the community and to protect the environment.
Although there were revisions to the initial proposal to upgrade the wastewater treatment facility, the Canton Water Pollution Control Authority recommended increasing the capacity to 800,000 gallons per day. Construction for the upgrade was completed in the early 1990‘s.
The upgraded water pollution control facility services approximately 1600 connections, and 22 miles of sewers. There are 3 pump stations to assist in transporting the wastewater to the treatment facility. The Town Bridge Road pump station serves the immediate area, a pump station was constructed to convey wastewater from The Shoppes @ Farmington Valley, and the third pump station is located in the Dyer Farms area. The town has service agreements with the towns of Avon, Burlington, and Farmington, for wastewater treatment and or for the use of wastewater trunk lines.
As required by State of Ct. Department of Environmental Protection, the facility was designed to remove a greater percentage of pollutants from the wastewater than the original facility and to protect the Farmington River quality. Pumps are used to lift wastewater to the primary clarifiers. The primary clarifiers allow for the removal of settable solids, as well as grease and scum. Once those solids are removed, the wastewater flows to a trickling filter. The wastewater trickles down through thousands of pieces of plastic media. Bacteria (much like the slime that grows on a rock in a river) grow on the plastic surface. The bacteria use the dissolved organic matter for food, in doing so they naturally remove approximately 40-60 % of the pollutants.
The wastewater then flows to the rotating biological contactors. As in the trickling filter process, bacteria once again remove the dissolved organic matter from the wastewater. Approximately 95% of the dissolved organic wastes have been removed. The secondary clarifiers allow the solids in the wastewater to settle out, thus removing 95% of the original organic wastes and suspended solids. Sand filters then provide a final filtering of the wastewater and remove additional very fine suspended matter and decrease the turbidity (cloudiness) of the final effluent. Chlorine gas is no longer used for disinfection, as the byproducts can be toxic to sensitive aquatic organisms. Ultraviolet lighting submerged in a channel effectively kills harmful bacteria. The last step is to measure the amount of water discharged and this is done thru the effluent flow meter. The final result is a clean discharge to the Farmington River.
In 2004, the Canton Water Pollution Control Facility received an Excellence Award for the Operation and Maintenance of its facility from the United States Environmental Protection Agency - New England Region 1. In 2005, the Canton Water Pollution Control Facility received The National Second Place Clean Water Act Recognition Award for the Excellence in the Operation and Maintenance of its facility.
In 2011 The Canton Water Pollution Control Facility received its new permit from the State of Ct. Department of Environmental Protection. With this new permit the facility was rerated and now has an allotted discharge of 950,000 gallons per day along with tighter parameters for BOD and suspended solids.
In January of 2013, the Canton Water Pollution Control Authority received the Asset Management Award from the New England Water Environment Association. The Canton Water Pollution Control Authority team set up a program that actively manages the capacity, performance of the facility and the conveyance of assets, to provide consistently high treatment and the replacement of aging equipment systems at a reasonable annual user rate.