On November 13th, The Nature Conservancy visited PWGC to film Project Manager, Bryan Grogan, PE, and Staff Engineer, Maggie Vavrika, IE, regarding their roles in the design and development of an alternative wastewater treatment system known as a constructed wetland. Though a bit outside their comfort zones, both Bryan and Maggie were naturals in front of the camera as they explained the design and development of a treatment system installed at The Nature Conservancy’s Upland’s Farm facility in Cold Spring Harbor, NY.
This innovative effluent treatment program consisted of improving an existing and traditional sanitary disposal system with upgrades that included the design and development oversight of the constructed wetland and leaching disposal field. This naturally layered system can treat wastewater by reducing nitrogen levels using native wetland species planted above the filter media, such as gravel, that initiates the biological process. Effluent is then delivered to a woodchip filter where it is denitrified. Finally, the wastewater is dispersed through a low-profile leaching field where further nitrogen uptake occurs.
Maggie details her experience below on the project as well as her experience in front of the camera:
“As a Staff Engineer at PWGC I was involved from the beginning stages of system design through to the construction and installation phases. I performed calculations to properly size the constructed wetlands; prepared an engineering report; completed pump calculations; drafted the plans in AutoCAD; attended meetings to discuss the site layout options; reviewed and approved construction documents; and oversaw the system installation. A unique part of this project was that a documentary video was being filmed to outline what and who was involved with the design and development of the constructed wetlands. During the filming process I was interviewed to discuss my role in this project and why I thought it was important for our community to be aware of the nitrogen pollution problem Long Island is experiencing today. It was an interesting and new experience for me because normally I am behind a computer, not a camera. To be able to describe the work that we do here at PWGC will hopefully bring an understanding and enlighten people about the importance of treating our wastewater, which in turn contributes to our drinking and surface waters. The experience was rewarding! It made me feel like the work we do matters and is making a difference!”
The full documentary will be released in the near future. Please stay tuned as we will let you know when it is available to watch!