Falmouth Holds Dedication Ceremony for New Long Pond Water Filtration Facility

Tata & Howard Staff Joined Falmouth Selectmen, Public Works Staff, Methuen Construction Staff, and Residents for a Dedication Ceremony and Facility Tours

On October 16, 2018, the Falmouth Board of Selectmen held a public Dedication Ceremony for the town’s recently completed water filtration facility on Gifford Street.

Attendees included Phil MacClellan, Paul Howard, Karen Gracey, and Ryan Neyland.

Several Tata & Howard company representatives attended the event, including Project Technical Reviewer Paul B. Howard, P.E., Project Principal Patrick O’Neale, P.E., Project Manager Ryan Neyland, P.E., Project Engineer Phil MacClellan, P.E., and Company Co-President Karen Gracey, P.E.


T&H Project Principal Patrick O’Neale, P.E., joined Falmouth Public Works Director Raymond Jack in addressing attendees at the Dedication Ceremony.

Project Principal Patrick O’Neale, P.E. joined other key project personnel including Director of Public Works Raymond Jack and Water Superintendent Stephen Rafferty, in summarizing the history of the water supply and key aspects of the facility, as well as Tata & Howard’s role in the pilot study, design, and construction administration of the facility. The facility utilizes coagulation, mixing, flocculation, dissolved air flotation (DAF), ozone, dual-media filtration, and chemical feed systems to provide the community with water that meets current EPA and MassDEP regulations.

Local residents toured the award-winning facility.

Tata & Howard was the lead engineering firm for the design and construction administration of the new facility; Methuen Construction was the general contractor. The new Long Pond Water Filtration Facility is a state-of-the-art water purification facility that received widespread community support. Due to the advanced nature of the facility design processes, this facility became the first Class IV fully automated facility to be permitted in New England.

Tata & Howard was awarded a 2018 Engineering Excellence Silver Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA) for “outstanding professional design excellence” for the Falmouth Long Pond Water Filtration Facility. ACEC/MA’s annual Engineering Excellence Awards recognize engineering firms for projects that demonstrate a high degree of achievement, value, and ingenuity.  The project also was recently featured in the November-December 2018 issue of World Water Magazine:  Falmouth_WorldWaterMag_Nov-Dec2018

Methuen Construction received several awards for the construction of the new 8.4-million gallon per day (mgd) facility. The firm was most recently awarded the prestigious 2018 National Excellence in Construction Eagle Award, the highest level awarded by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). In 2017, Methuen won two Engineering News-Record (ENR) 2017 Best Projects New England awards in Water / Environmental and Safety categories for construction of the facility.

Aerial view of the new Long Pond Water Filtration Facility in Falmouth, MA.

The award-winning facility was built for the future and will provide a valuable health benefit to the residents of Falmouth for generations to come.Save

The Importance of Treating Manganese in Drinking Water

Manganese in drinking water has recently come under scrutiny due to its potential toxicity as well as its damage to distribution systems. A mineral similar to iron and common in Earth’s crust, manganese is found in about 95% of New England water supplies. While low concentrations are not only safe but also beneficial to human health, elevated manganese concentrations can cause taste and color issues, health risks to customers, and problems for distribution systems.

Map of soil manganese content in the U.S. (red = high manganese areas). Courtesy of U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Resources.

Health Effects of Manganese

manganese-bloodManganese is an essential nutrient at about 2.5-5.0 mg/day, but overexposure can potentially cause serious health issues. Long term exposure to manganese can cause toxicity to the nervous system and Parkinson’s like symptoms – particularly in children, the elderly, and pregnant mothers. Young children and infants cannot break down manganese in their bodies as effectively as adults, which can cause issues in early brain development.  In recent studies, children exposed to high levels of manganese experienced learning difficulties such as ADD, hyperactivity, Pervasive Development Disorder, and memory issues. Another interesting effect of overexposure to manganese is violent behavior. Studies have shown excessive manganese decreases serotonin function and reduces dopamine levels, resulting in social withdrawal, increased depression, and aggression. Studies completed in prisons have concluded manganese toxicity contributes to delinquent behavior, and autopsies of mass murderers often show toxic levels of manganese. While these studies may be concerning, manganese ingested through drinking water is processed by the liver and reduces the risks associated with other forms of manganese exposure, such as inhaling.

State and Federal Guidelines for Manganese

Manganese oxide in rock

There are currently no enforceable federal drinking water standards for manganese. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a secondary standard of 0.05 mg/L, a standard established to address issues of aesthetics such as discoloration, rather than health concerns. In the absence of an enforceable federal standard, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH), has set their Action Level at 0.5 mg/L, whereas the Massachusetts Office of Research and Standards has set an Office of Research and Standards Guideline Limit (ORSGL) of 0.3 mg/L for lifetime exposure by adults and acute exposure (ten days) by infants less than one year of age.

Saving the Distribution System

Manganese-deposits-water-mainManganese deposits can build up in pipelines, pressure tanks, water heaters, and water softeners, reducing the available quantity of the water supply and pressure in the system. Manganese accumulations can become expensive for utilities when water supply or water softening equipment must be replaced. Also, energy costs can become a burden for utilities when pumping water through constricted pipes or heating water with heating rods coated with manganese deposits. Managing safe levels of manganese in drinking water is an important step in preserving valuable assets in a distribution system. The benefits associated with treating manganese greatly outweigh the long-term repair and rehabilitation costs utilities may face with high levels of manganese. To adequately manage safe levels of manganese, proper water treatment is paramount.

Proper Testing

For managing manganese in drinking water, the best treatment method is dependent on several factors including manganese concentrations, the presence of other contaminants, and existing treatment methods. Therefore, accurate testing is important before considering options or selecting treatment equipment. Typically, tests are conducted to quantify the extent of manganese concentrations, but testing of additional water parameters such as pH, oxygen content, hardness, iron, and sulfur may also be useful to determine the most appropriate water treatment method.

Phosphate Treatment

new-engljand-waterFor low concentrations of manganese, 0.3 mg/L or less, sequestering utilizing phosphate compounds is a simple, effective, and inexpensive solution. When added to water, phosphate compounds surround minerals and keep them in solution. When these compounds are put into the water system, they stabilize and disperse dissolved manganese. As a result, the manganese is not available to react with oxygen to create issues with the color, taste, or odor of drinking water. The phosphate compounds must be introduced into the water at a point where the manganese is still dissolved to maintain water clarity. This treatment process should take place before the pressure tank and as close to the well discharge point as possible. Phosphate treatment does come with a bit of risk due to the instability of most phosphate compounds at higher temperatures. If phosphate-treated water is boiled or heated, such as in a water heater, the compounds have the potential to break down and release manganese that could react with oxygen and precipitate. Also, phosphates from any source contribute to excess nutrient content in surface water.

Oxidation Followed by Filtration

manganese water treatment public
Tata & Howard completed pilot testing, design, permitting, bidding, and construction management services for the Town of Wayland’s Baldwin Pond Water Treatment Plant which included iron and manganese removal.

Among the most common forms of manganese treatment is oxidation followed by filtration. This form of treatment is ideal for manganese concentrations greater than 0.3 mg/L, where sequestering is not an option. During this process, an oxidizing chemical, often potassium permanganate, chlorine, or ozone, is pumped into the water by a small chemical metering pump that operates simultaneously with the well pump. This step converts soluble manganese into an insoluble, filterable form.  Typically, the chemical is injected in a pipeline prior to the filters, providing sufficient contact time to allow oxidation to take place. The resulting solid particles then must be filtered. Therefore, a media, membrane, or biological filter is necessary for the removal process. Common media filters include GreensandPlus and LayneOx®; membrane filtration technologies include microfiltration, ultrafiltration, and nanofiltration; and biological filtration technologies include Mangazur®. While the process may seem simple, it is important to monitor both the source water and treated water to determine the proper oxidation dosage and confirm the removal efficiency.

In Conclusion

When managing manganese levels in drinking water, it is imperative to have a well-executed balance between maximizing quality while minimizing costs. While there are many different methods to treat manganese in drinking water, the best first step to take is proper testing and an evaluation of the distribution system. Every system is different and may require unique treatment or even new source development. Manganese poses a problem for both communities and utilities alike, and proper mitigation protects the health of water system customers while greatly increasing the condition and life of the water distribution system.

Ryan Neyland, P.E. Project Manager, has over 11 years of concentrated water treatment experience including all phases of planning, design, and construction services, as well as pump station rehabilitation and SCADA experience. He holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.


Ryan P. Neyland, P.E., promoted to Project Manager

RyanNeyland400Ryan P. Neyland, P.E., has over nine years of concentrated water treatment experience. Mr. Neyland has been involved in numerous water projects including all phases of planning, design, and construction services, as well as pump station rehabilitation and SCADA. Mr. Neyland is currently working on the 8 mgd Falmouth Dissolved Air Flotation Water Treatment Plant. He works out of our Marlborough office and can be reached at 508-303-9400 x108 or rneyland@tataandhoward.com.

Ryan Neyland, P.E., joins Tata & Howard as a Senior Project Engineer

RyanNeyland400We are pleased to announce that Ryan Neyland has joined the Tata & Howard team at our Marlborough, MA office. Ryan brings almost ten years of comprehensive drinking water engineering experience to Tata & Howard. He has targeted expertise in water treatment including pilot studies, full scale designs, and construction oversight. Additionally, Ryan has significant experience with master planning, distribution system analysis, and implementation of water meter and automatic meter reading (AMR) systems.

Ryan can be reached at 508-303-9400 x108 or at rneyland@tataandhoward.com.