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Riverhead’s wastewater system recognized for engineering excellence

Riverhead Town officials were recently honored with the Diamond Award in recognition of the Sewer District’s Wastewater Reuse Recovery System. The American Council of Engineering Companies of New York presented the award for design and engineering excellence.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith accepted the award along with Sewer District Superintendent Michael Reichel, H2M architects and engineers Chris Weiss, Tim Nordberg and H2M President and CEO Rich Humann.

The project, which started as a pilot program in 2002, “expanded the fundamental concept of reuse throughout the entire system,” according to a press release. While reusing water is not new to the industry, reusing the entire processing and delivery system is “revolutionary.” Riverhead’s system repurposed and reused original buildings, piping and tanks.

The system “established a new standard that has now been adopted by the Suffolk County Department of Health,” according to the town.

Mr. Reichel was credited for spearheading the project. As he looked out at neighboring Indian Island Golf Course get watered one day, he thought to himself: “Why pull water from the ground when you have millions of gallons right here?” As a result, Riverhead’s Wastewater Reuse Recovery System now supplies half of the recovered water to the golf course and for reuse at the plant, according to the town.

Photo caption: (from left) H2M’s Tim Nordberg and Chris Weiss, Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, Michael Reichel and H2M President Rich Humann accept the award. (Courtesy photo)