USDP’s attempt to send wastewater gets halted

The pilot project to have the United States Distilled Products (USDP) liquor mixing and bottling plant in Princeton’s industrial park preprocess its plant wastewater and send it to the city’s wastewater plant for final processing has been halted after a short start.

The city council approved an agreement close to two months ago that would allow wastewater discharge from the USDP plant’s mixing operation to go into the city’s wastewater plant after preprocessing by USDP, if it met certain specifications. This would be a limited amount of no more than 2,000 gallons per day as part of a trial period.

The agreement’s specifications spell out how much of various components in the wastewater will be allowed to go into the city wastewater plant, since too much of certain components such as phosphorous could overburden the city plant and actually shut down its processing.

USDP began sending preprocessed wastewater to the city wastewater plant on April 30 this spring and the city halted it on May 5 after the amount of phosphorous content was too high, according to city public works director Bob Gerold, who oversees the city’s wastewater plant. The high phosphorous content was the main problem, Gerold said, indicating that there were other content issues, though not as big as the phosphorous one.

USDP officials have been seeking a way, for nearly two decades, to send all its plant wastewater to Princeton’s processing facility, rather than having to haul the wastewater someplace else for disposal.

Finally, USDP began working some months ago on building a preprocessing plant that, according to City Administrator Mark Karnowski, relies on microbes to break down the wastewater components. The city’s wastewater plant uses microbes to do the same but it can only handle so much wastewater enriched with a high BOD, which stands for biological oxygen demand. The higher the BOD number, the more processing it takes to break the wastewater down to where it can be discharged into the environment.


Odor issue one day

A wastewater issue at USDP became especially noticeable in the main industrial park where USDP is located, on May 7. That was the day that nearby industry, Glenn Metalcraft, reported to city police a pronounced odor coming from USDP. A Princeton city police officer talked to a manager at the USDP plant, and according to the officer’s report, the problem had to do with USDP wastewater. The officer then wrote NFAT on the complaint report, which stands for no further attention.

But there certainly will continue to be attention paid by Gerold and the samplers of any wastewater that USDP should send to the city wastewater plant in the future, Karnowski and Gerold have made clear.

Gerold said that the city relies not just on USDP’s lab tests but also takes its own samples and runs the samples through another lab.

It is unknown when USDP might be given the green light to try the discharge again. But one thing is for certain, according to Karnowski: USDP will have to first work out any problems it may be having with its preprocessing facility before it can send more liquor-mixing wastewater to the city.

The Union-Eagle contacted USDP Executive Vice President Todd Guisness for comment and Guisness deferred questions to USDP’s Director of Operations, Jon Nordman. Nordman had not replied in time for this story’s deadline.