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Designing for Coastal Wastewater Resiliency

WWTP hardening in Fairfield, Connecticut

Abstract | In October 2012 Hurricane Sandy caused record storm surge flooding in coastal areas of Fairfield, Connecticut, and widespread damage throughout the town. Portions of the town’s wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), located directly adjacent to a low-lying coastal salt marsh, were submerged and substantially damaged due to the storm. Consequently, the WWTP’s influent did not receive full treatment for more than a week. The town used emergency funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Connecticut Department of Housing to design and construct a flood control structure and pump station to protect the WWTP and surrounding critical town facilities from a 100-year flood. This article provides an overview of the project, discusses the design process and challenges, and highlights the risks to wastewater facilities in similar coastal environments.

Authors: Laura Pulie, PE, Town of Fairfield Engineering Department, Fairfield, Connecticut
Jonathan Richer, PE, Tighe & Bond, Shelton, Connecticut

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