Combined sewer overflows were impacting the environment, but the solution needed to consider economics
In 1988, the Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC), which operates wastewater collection and treatment facilities for 10 member communities, began a three-phase, combined sewer overflow (CSO) abatement program. The goal? To reduce untreated CSO discharges to Narragansett Bay.
The program will lower annual CSO volumes and reduce the closure frequency of Narragansett Bay shellfish beds, the closing of which has a major economic impact on the community. The first two phases were successfully completed in the Fields Point service area, whereas phase III includes the Bucklin Point service area and the rivers leading to Narragansett Bay.
Before starting phase III, we re-evaluated and optimized the plan using an integrated planning approach and affordability impact assessment. This approach supported the development of a four-phase implementation plan for phase III that would maintain the NBC’s affordability goals—and save approximately $60 million. Phase A includes the most environmentally beneficial projects to be completed by 2025, and the remaining phases (B through D) will be completed by 2041 to help reduce the cost impact to NBC’s rate payers.
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