January 22, 2021
By Susan Gnirke & Martin Hawrysko
During normal times, New York City is filled with a surplus of people, movement, and activity. Millions of people come and go while going about their business, with hardly any thought towards the many behind the scenes services and processes that allow it to run as it does – at least until something goes wrong.
Of all the processes that New York City is dependent on, one of the most important is its water supply. Any disruption to that availability would without a doubt be catastrophic. As it turns out, such a scenario wasn’t far off from occurring.
The problem began 125 miles north in Shandaken, N.Y. a small rural community compiled of 12 hamlets. Thanks to a 2018 environmental impact study, it was discovered that the septic water systems in Shandaken as well as many other communities were on the brink of failure. Collectively, these areas are an integral part of the New York City Catskill-Delaware Watershed, which is responsible for supplying New York City’s water.
Both the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC-DEP) and Catskill Watershed Corporation, agencies responsible for protecting the water quality in New York City’s Watershed West of the Hudson River, recognized the necessity to work proactively to keep clean water flowing through the watersheds.
After thorough examination, it was decided that the most practical and efficient approach to solving the problem was by adding a secondary treatment system. Evergreen Mountain Contracting was awarded the job, designed by Lamont Engineers based in Cobleskill, N.Y. Their recommendation was to supplement the septic systems with Anua Puraflo systems, which provide an advanced secondary treatment process that purifies septic tank effluent to an extremely high degree before final dispersal.
Based on previous work experience with the Anua Puraflo systems, Evergreen Mountain Contracting knew that Emmons Metro, a division of Metropolitan Industries, had the experience needed to solve the problem in Shandaken.
Kim Emmons, general manager of Emmons Metro, became involved with the Anua Puraflo systems 17 years earlier when it was first introduced as a new process to supplement septic systems. Following a thorough vetting with the manufacturer, researching the science, and examining the capability of its components, Emmons saw the potential in the green-friendly system, and recognized that it would be an efficient, effective, and nature-based solution to protect the integrity of drinking water, especially in New York’s rural areas.
The Anua Puraflo system utilizes a peat fiber as a biofilter to purify septic tanks. This environmentally friendly process uses little to no energy, resulting in clean water at a lowered cost. In addition to being simple to use, its unique peat fiber with high lignin content provides for a longer media life.
The filtered septic tank effluent collects under gravity in the pump tank. A timed dosing system is activated by a programmable timer, which pumps the effluent through a flow splitting inlet manifold located at the base of the treatment modules. An orifice plate located inside the top of each inlet manifold allows the flows to be split equally and fed simultaneously to each biofilter module.
The inlet manifold is connected to the base of the biofilter module and is fed upwards to a rectangular distribution grid located 6 inches below the top of the lid. The effluent percolates laterally and vertically through the depth of the peat fiber treatment media and emerges as a clear, innocuous liquid from the base of the system. The treated effluent is then collected and dispersed. To ensure long-term safety, Puraflo systems are inspected annually to test the water quality coming out and going in.
The integration of the Anua Puralfo systems for the Shandaken project was recently completed, sparing New York City from a disruption to the quality of its water supply. As a result, the millions of people who live, work, and play within New York City can continue going about their business without a second thought to its water supply process.
To this day, Emmons Metro continues to promote the Anua Puraflo systems for the various watersheds of the NYC-DEP, the Lake George Region, the Adirondacks, and Western New York.
The most recent success in Shandaken further fuels Emmons Metro’s enthusiastic advocating of the system. As a result, New Yorkers have cleaner water and more effective septic solutions that make the application viable for all communities, large and small.