In the early 1990's, the Township of Chatham's Main Water Pollution Control Plant (Plant) was expanded from 2,850 m3/d (0.75 mgd) to 3,800 m3/d (1.0 mgd) and upgraded for tertiary treatment. Subsequently, limitations on Total Dissolved Solids
(TDS) monthly and weekly concentrations were added to the facilities NJPDES (discharge) permit. As a result of high drinking water TDS levels, especially during drought periods and chemical addition necessary for meeting phosphorus effluent limitations, the discharge from the Plant does not
reliably meet the TDS monthly and weekly effluent limitations of 500 mg/L and 750 mg/L, respectively. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), due to the intermittent nature of the receiving water, instituted the TDS surface water quality standard of 500 mg/L
as the monthly effluent limitation. Of additional importance is the presence of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge approximately 3.2 km (2 miles) downstream of the Plant discharge. Consequently, the Township of Chatham (Township) entered into an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) with
the NJDEP that establishes a schedule for attaining permanent compliance with the TDS limits. The ACO includes three categories of inquiry including permitting/regulatory considerations, modifications to the Plant, and modifications external to the Plant such as changing the effluent discharge
location and/or the size of the service area. The overall context of the TDS issue is described, and specifically the results of a one-year study of the sources and fate of TDS in this system are presented.
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