Main Wastewater System

The Town's Main Wastewater Treatment Facility (Main WWTF) is located at 154 Blacksmith Shop Road, east of Route 28 and north of Blacksmith Shop Road in Falmouth. The Town's original Main WWTF was constructed in the mid 1980s and was an aerated lagoon plant.

WWTF Upgrade Projects

The Town recently completed a $4.4 million Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvement Project, including addition of an alkalinity feed system, improvements to the denitrification and sludge handling systems, and construction of an odor control biofilter on Service Road.   A previous major ($15 million) upgrade of the WWTF was completed in 2005.

The 2005 upgrade project dramatically improved the quality of the effluent discharged from the Main WWTF, and in particular, is substantially reducing the nitrogen load to the West Falmouth Harbor watershed.  The 2016 improvement project is expected to further increase the consistency of WWTF performance and has already substantially reduced sludge management costs.

The design flow of the upgraded WWTF is 1.2 million gallons per day (average annual flow). The current groundwater discharge permit for the Main WWTF limits discharge within the West Falmouth Harbor watershed to 450,000 gallons per day, and discharge to new infiltration basins north of the West Falmouth Harbor watershed to 260,000 gallons per day.

Wastewater Treatment

Treatment at the Main WWTF is provided by
  1. A screen which physically removes large solids such as plastics and rags
  2. Sequencing Batch Reactors (SBRs) which remove organic material and nitrogen through biological processes
  3. Denitrification filters which physically remove solids and biologically remove additional nitrogen
  4. Ultraviolet lights which disinfect the wastewater
Treated wastewater is discharged to infiltration basins, which are large sand beds from which the treated wastewater infiltrates into the soil, and eventually, to the groundwater table.

Septage received at Main WWTF is mixed with excess sludge from the SBRs, then run through sludge thickeners which remove liquid from the sludge. The liquid removed during the thickening process is returned to the SBRs for treatment. The thickened sludge is hauled by a contractor to an off-site disposal facility (normally an incinerator).

Areas Served

The areas of Falmouth that are currently tied into the Main WWTF wastewater collection system are:
  • Falmouth High School
  • Many of the properties on Ter Huen Drive
  • Portions of the Falmouth Beach area
  • Portions of the Main Street and Davis Straits areas
  • Portions of Woods Hole
  • The Little Pond Sewer Service Area (portions Falmouth Heights and Maravista and Teaticket).
In the majority of these areas, wastewater flows by gravity from the sewered properties to lift stations, though about half of the Little Pond Sewer Service area is low pressure.  In low pressure areas, grinder pumps located on each property pump the wastewater into the low pressure pipes, which ultimately discharge into the gravity portion of the system.

Lift Stations

There were three larger and three smaller lift stations in Falmouth's original Main Wastewater System. The larger lift stations are located at the corner of Jones Road and Palmer Road (Jones/Palmer Lift Station), near the corner of Katherine Lee Bates Road and Post Office Road (Shivericks Lift Station), on Water Street in Woods Hole (Woods Hole Lift Station). The lift stations pump the wastewater via force mains to the Wastewater Treatment Facility.  In 2009, two lift stations were constructed to connect the High School to the sewer system, and in 2016, two lift stations were constructed to serve the Little Pond Sewer Service Area.