Portland Water District maps out sustainable wastewater future


Portland Water District develops biosolids masterplan for long-term resiliency and reliability

The Portland Water District is charting a sustainable wastewater future through the development of a masterplan to evaluate its current and future biosolids management practices.

“As biosolids management costs continue to rise in light of emerging contaminants, like PFAS, and evolving regulations, the Portland Water District is evaluating long-term reliable processing and management options,” stated Director of Wastewater Services Scott Firmin. In the last two years, costs have skyrocketed 44 percent for the disposal of biosolids. “Where we are right now is not sustainable, we will look at creative ways to reduce the volume of biosolids generated and explore available treatment options.”

Portland Water District operates four wastewater treatment plants, providing treatment and collection services to customers in Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Gorham, Portland, Westbrook, and Windham. The wastewater treatment plants produce clean water and biosolids. The clean water is safely released to receiving waters, and biosolids (wastewater solids or sludge) are treated and landfilled.

Portland Water District is dedicated to protecting public health, safety, and the environment by providing customers first-class water, wastewater, and related services. The biosolids masterplan is a key component to achieving that vision for the benefit of future generations.

Leading environmental engineering firm Brown and Caldwell will provide professional services for the plan’s creation. The firm will evaluate solids processing and disposition alternatives, including engineering analysis, risk identification, regulatory review, and cost estimation. The resulting roadmap will outline a path to sustainably and safely manage and process biosolids generated at Portland Water District’s wastewater treatment facilities.

“We commend Portland Water District’s approach to getting ahead of future biosolids challenges while continuing to meet evolving regulations,” said Brown and Caldwell Solids and Energy National Practice Lead Natalie Sierra. “We look forward to lending our national and New England experience to chart a sustainable biosolids path for Portland and the communities it serves.”