A first since the training event began in 1996 was the inclusion of a second lagoon facility tour in the afternoon nearby in the town of Mapleton. Mapleton is the newest wastewater snowmaking facility to go online in the state.
Starting the all day event off under the tent was Mars Hill Utility Superintendent Frank Kearny who introduced Mars Hill Town Manager Raymond W. Mersereau. Meresereau provided some history about the utility district including the fact that he became the temporary operator years back when no one was available.
Kearny next introduced the Mars Hill facility’s original design engineer Steve Hallowell of Wright Pierce. Steve followed with some background on the beginnings of the lagoon design and construction. Fielding questions from lagoon operators Hallowell was asked about unique features about the system. He responded that the 32 million gallon storage lagoon has a sloped bottom and that is not common in lagoon design. Hallowell told the group that this came about due to the amount of ledge that would have had to be removed to give the lagoon a flat bottom. This worked out to the facility’s advantage because it is sloped towards the lagoons discharge.
Discussion followed about sludge treatment options for lagoons with reed beds being in the forefront of the talk. The Caribou Utility District was identified as being the early pioneers of reed bed technology in Maine. CUD Manager Al Hitchcock and operator Paul Rossignol spoke of their experiences and noted former District Manager Emery Knowlton’s involvement of the reed bed project for Caribou. Hitchcock said that the reed beds at the CUD have been in place for 18 years and currently maintain a level of 15-inches of sludge in them. Mars Hill Superintendent spoke of the adjacent land that was recently licensed for land application of treated biosolids once it becomes necessary to dewater their lagoons.
Next up on the training session was the facility tour. The staff of the Mars Hill Facility broke
the group of operators and Maine DEP personnel into 3 teams. A walk around the lagoons ensued followed by the operations building and the grit / screening building. To make the tours interesting the Mars Hill staff designed a safety contest with a prize of a crisp $50.00 bill (generously provided by Mars Hill UD) going to the person finding all the rigged safety deficiencies along the tours.
Next on the agenda was a bus trip stopping off at the Mars Hill Snowmobile Club for a top-notch lunch.
Followed by the excellent meal was a brief speech by the Maine Rural Water Associations Executive Director Steve Levy. Levy was making his annual Aroostook County swing trip.
As it has been since the beginning of Lagoon Days the infamous Ruksznis Raffle followed lunch highlighted by Guiford-Sangerville Superintendent Frank Rukzinis humorous narrative of the numerous door prizes. Wright-Pierce, Olver Associates, and Ruksinis Maple Syrup donated numerous gifts. L.L. Bean Gift certificates also happened to find their way into the gift pile.
Boarding the bus to head to Mapleton provided more down east humor from the Guilford-Sangerville Superintendent. Upon arriving at the Mapleton spray irrigation and snow making facility the group of operators were met by Mapleton Operator Gil St. Pierre and facility design engineer Bill Olver of Olver Associates. Olver welcomed the group and opened his presentation with some background information about the facility. Continuing with his presentation Olver spoke on the design data and specifications of the treatment plant and its processes. Operator Gil St Pierre then presented his portion of the facility overview with his experiences during the first two years of the facility’s operation. St. Pierre said the weather was a major operations tool on when and how snow would be made. St. Pierre also indicated that the weather also would dictate the costs of making snow especially if the facility’s high output air compressor was used to assist the snow making process.
After a tour of the 5 mg facultative and 15 million
gallon storage lagoon the group moved to the summer spray field to view its
operation. Then it was on to the snowmaking field where the 10 Ratnik snow guns
remained idle until the coming winter. St. Pierre said that there was still snow
on the ground last week. Next it was onto the operations building where a cooler
of cold sodas broke the day’s heat and a view of the snowmaking control panel.
It was then out into the high output compressor room, associated air dryer and
the facility piping gallery on the lower level.
St Pierre capped the day off by saying how pleased he was with the working relationship of Ratnik Industries Inc. and the facility’s design engineers Olver Associates of Winterport, Maine during the facility’s design and construction. Ratnik a leading manufacturer and supplier of snowmaking and pumping systems worldwide provided a 2-year warranty on the snowmaking equipment for Mapleton.
Continuing with Maine’s innovative lagoon training operators are looking forward to the 10th Lagoon Day in 2006.