A Project to Evaluate the Efficacy of a Woodchip Bioreactor for Denitrification of Tertiary Effluent from the Bolton Wastewater Treatment Plant (Lake George, Warren Country, New York)

Timeline

February 1, 2019 to December 31, 2021

Description

Recent studies demonstrate that outdated wastewater treatment plants in the village of Lake George and the town of Bolton in upstate New York have been discharging water with an excess of environmentally damaging nitrate-nitrogen and ammonia-nitrogen. In response, researchers will explore the application and efficacy of a woodchip bioreactor, installed one year ago in the town of Bolton, in combating excess levels of these chemicals discharged from treatment plants. Excess nitrate-nitrogen and ammonia-nitrogen harms local biodiversity, ecology, and water quality and spans beyond the Lake George drainage basin into the Lake Champlain drainage basin.

Researchers will study the chemical makeup of wastewater discharged from the woodchip bioreactor and compare it to the wastewater not “treated” by the bioreactor as well as past water chemistry records from “treated” wastewater. The project will include bi-weekly sampling of measures such as pH, temperature, and nitrate-nitrogen/ammonia-nitrogen levels from sampling sites in tributaries that flow into Lake George. The project includes outreach to educate communities, municipalities, and agencies across the drainage basins through field trips to the demonstration bioreactor site.

Researcher(s)

Jim Sutherland
Independent Consultant, The Fund for Lake George
jwsinack [at] comcast.net

Kathleen Suozzo
Bolton Landing, NY

Chris Navitsky
Lake George Waterkeeper

Resulting Publications

Final Report: A Project to Evaluate the Efficacy of a Woodchip Bioreactor for Denitrification of Tertiary Effluent From the Bolton Wastewater Treatment Plant (Lake George, Warren County, New York)

Published 2021
This 148-page final report by the Lake George Association, Lake George Waterkeeper, and Town of Bolton, New York describes the results of a monitoring program to determine the feasibility of using green infrastructure technology in the form of a woodchip bioreactor to remove nitrate-nitrogen from the Bolton wastewater treatment plant effluent which is discharged to ground water and then enters Lake George. This project was funded by the Lake Champlain Sea Grant and completed in December 2021.

Research Seminar: Efficacy of a Woodchip Bioreactor for Denitrification of Tertiary Effluent from the Bolton Wastewater Treatment Plant (Lake George, Warren Country, New York)

Published 2022
In this video, researchers from the Lake George Association and the Town of Bolton, NY presented results from their completed Lake Champlain Sea Grant-funded project to test a woodchip bioreactor to treat effluent from the Town of Bolton wastewater treatment plant. The bioreactor successfully reduced effluent nitrates by 38 percent.