PENETRON - Biggest is Better with PENETRON ADMIX – Upgrading the Passaic Valley Sewage Treatment Plant | PENETRON Media Releases

March 21, 2013

Biggest is Better with PENETRON ADMIX – Upgrading the Passaic Valley Sewage Treatment Plant

One of the largest sewage treatment plants in the country recently needed to upgrade to meet environmental regulations and accommodate growing waste flows. The Passaic Valley Sewage Commission used PENETRON ADMIX for this headworks project to protect the concrete infrastructure against aggressive treatment conditions.

“Everything is big about the Passaic Valley plant - its size, the daily throughput, the number of people that depend on it - it’s just huge,” says Christopher Chen, Director of The PENETRON Group.

The Passaic Valley Sewage Commission is among the largest sewage treatment systems in the USA. The plant stretches over 172 acres along the Newark Bay and handles sewage from 1.5 million customers in northern New Jersey, including the state’s three largest cities. Originally designed to treat 330 million gallons per day, the plant often experiences spikes of up to 550 million gallons per day during rain events. It is unique because it also receives a wide array of industrial and commercial liquid wastes delivered by pipeline, trucks, and rail and barge traffic.

The plant needed to accommodate the increasing flow surcharges and maintain concrete protection to treat the caustic industrial wastes. The previous open bay headworks channel tended to accumulate tremendously large volumes of grit and debris during low flow conditions. This accumulation would turn noxiously septic and solid, blocking the headworks area and reducing the flow capacity of the entire plant. It was overdue for an upgrade.


To create an optimal upgrade, the hydraulics of the facility were analyzed. Multiple models with differing channel layouts were made to simulate flow conditions. The shape of the final channel design resembled a tear drop; the parabolic shape helped maximize the velocity of the inflowing sewage even at low flow conditions, effectively keeping the channel clean.

The uniquely-shaped parabolic concrete channels were constructed with standard reinforcing steel and concrete forms. The concrete, supplied by Eastern Concrete, was treated with PENETRON ADMIX to protect against the highly caustic chemicals in the sewage and industrial waste.. Plastic liners were used to create the teardrop shapes, resulting in the seamless form the design team was looking for. The upgraded facility included multiple channels to deliver greater flows to the plant with little to no accumulation of grit and solids in the influent channel.

“The waterproofing technology of the PENETRON ADMIX worked well with the shaped concrete channels,” adds Chen. “It also helped keep construction on schedule because all work was completed while adjacent channels in the plant continued necessary treatment of incoming waste flows.”

The original influent structure was an open- large channel and allowed accumulations of grit to deposit in the facility. By channeling the incoming sewage with new flow channels the grit deposits are carried to the treatment plant for proper removal and disposal.

By forming the concrete treated with Penetron Admix in tear drop shaped curving patterns the design team eliminated accumulation of grit and solids in the critical headworks structure.

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