Merck makes changes to wastewater treatment

    The pharmaceutical company is upgrading Upper Gwynedd’s facility and looking to divert wastewater to Landsdale.

    The pharmaceutical company Merck is making changes to wastewater treatment from its West Point Pennsylvania plant.

    Upper Gwynedd’s wastewater treatment facility is getting some upgrades to its plant, courtesy of the drug maker Merck. The company is spending $20 million in fines and environmental protection projects as a penalty for dumping a toxic chemical into Upper Gwynedd’s facility in 2006.

    The township will receive $800,000 worth of equipment to improve water treatment efficiency. Township manager Leonard T. Perrone says one device is an oxygen system used to feed sewage-eating microorganisms.

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    Perrone: This project involves an automated system that injects dissolved oxygen into the sanitary treatment process so that the organisms required to treat the sewage are alive and do their job.

    Perrone says he had wanted to put in the equipment, but now can do it because of the Merck settlement.

    At the same time the company is working out a deal to divert half a million gallons of wastewater each day to Lansdale’s wastewater plant.

    Lansdale Borough Manager Timi Kirchner says there’s no concern of another contamination.

    Kirchner: We know that they have additional requirements relative to their flow, and essentially the flow that will be coming from them has gone through a lot more treatment than let’s say the flow that’s coming from an individual household.

    $9 million was to be spent on Merck’s own facility in West Point, to ensure another contamination doesn’t occur. Kirchner says the borough will benefit from a fee the drug maker will pay to connect with its system.

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