People who missed Tuesday's in-person dedication ceremony for the upgrades to the Peirce Island Wastewater Treatment Facility in Portsmouth can now take a virtual tour that starts with an aerial view.

Director of Public Works Peter Rice begins the virtual tour by saying the history of wastewater treatment in the city of Portsmouth began in 1964 when the original treatment facility was built.

Over the years, many upgrades have been made to remove pollution from the wastewater, Rice said.

City Engineer Terry Desmarais took over the remainder of the presentation.

Desmarais said the size of the facility grew during the most recent upgrades because it will be treating an average daily flow of 6.1 million gallons per day instead of 4.8 million gallons per day.

Viewers get to see the sludge screw presses, the control room, chemicals, the laboratory and the instrumentation that shows operators what needs to be done to improve the process.

Jake Roger, who is the facility's treatment operations foreman, is interviewed as part of the virtual tour. He keeps track of all of the maintenance and works with the chief plant operator to ensure the water is being properly treated.

"I've been here five years and I just enjoy doing it to take care of the environment," Roger said.

Chief Plant Operator Peter Conroy said he also got into wastewater management to protect the environment.

"That's something we take great pride in here. I started working at the Peirce Island facility because we wanted to be part of something that was cutting-edge type of technology for wastewater treatment," Conroy said.

The wastewater treatment facility upgrade is the most expensive project in Portsmouth's history and is expected to last 50 years.

The $92 million project marks a milestone in the city’s history and with $81.9 million in state funding, is the largest in the history of the NH State Revolving Fund loan programs that support drinking water safety, water quality, and public health through low-cost financial assistance, according to a press release.

Why does municipal wastewater matter?

Representatives from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, city officials and people from the project design and construction firms will participate in the dedication.

On their website, EPA officials explain why wastewater is important:

"The collection and treatment of domestic sewage and wastewater is vital to public health and clean water. It is among the most important factors responsible for the general level of good health enjoyed in the United States. Sewers collect sewage and wastewater from homes, businesses, and industries and deliver it to wastewater treatment facilities before it is discharged to water bodies or land, or reused."

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com.

Check Out the Best-Selling Album From the Year You Graduated High School

Do you remember the top album from the year you graduated high school? Stacker analyzed Billboard data to determine just that, looking at the best-selling album from every year going all the way back to 1956. Sales data is included only from 1992 onward when Nielsen's SoundScan began gathering computerized figures.

Going in chronological order from 1956 to 2020, we present the best-selling album from the year you graduated high school.