Since 1977 the award-winning New Shoreham Water Pollution Control Facility has provided primary and secondary treatment for wastewater from its downtown service area. The sewer district includes all of Old Harbor, and New Harbor as far west as Champlin’s Marina. It extends south to include the Spring House inn and restaurant on Spring Street and the Block Island School and the Medical Center on High Street, and west to include the Town Hall on Old Town Road and properties at the west end of Connecticut Avenue. It extends along Corn Neck Road as far as the Beach Head restaurant. The collection system consists of over 3.5 miles of lateral and intercepting sewer pipelines, and five pump stations.
The New Shoreham Water Pollution Control Facility was authorized for construction, operation, and to be maintained, by enabling legislation January Session, 1972-Chapter 146 (as amended 2013), for collecting, treatment, and disposal of sewage and commercial and industrial wastes. The facility was originally engineered by Keyes Associates and constructed by Cumberland Construction Co., completed in 1978.
The facility was originally designed as an extended aeration plant with conventional removal limits for BOD and Total Suspended Solids, and with liquid sludge disposal. Upgrades to the facility, have included a sludge/solids handling facility, an anoxic zone for more complete nitrogen removal, and chemical application of Sodium Bisulfite to control chlorine residual discharge. The 2008 permit for the facility, increased the daily capacity allowance for treatment at the facility from 300,000 gallons per day to 450,000 gallons per day. The permit also included seasonal limits for ammonia discharge and reduced the limits on BOD and Total Suspended Solids.
The Board of Sewer Commissioners, also created by the enabling legislation of 1972-Section 2, has established and implemented regulations and a comprehensive Sewer Use Ordinance program, consistent with the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on the use of sanitary sewers in the town of New Shoreham. As the State Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have continued to increase the standards for waste discharges and sludge/solids handling, the New Shoreham Board of Sewer Commissioners has continued to evolve and set guidelines, regulations, and ordinances to improve and conform to those standards. In addition to Town Ordinance, the commission has adopted Utility Standards for the integrity, growth, and installation of the town's collection system.