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State Intends to Renew Pfizer Wastewater Discharge Permit

State Intends to Renew Pfizer Wastewater Discharge Permit [the Day, New London, Conn.]

From Day, The (New London, CT) (December 2, 2010)

Dec. 02--GROTON -- The state Department of Environmental Protection plans to renew Pfizer Inc.’s permit to discharge wastewater from its research facilities into the city’s sewage treatment plant.

The DEP issued a public notice last week that it planned to grant Pfizer a new five-year permit, giving the public 30 days to comment and raise any issues that should be addressed before a final decision is made. Christine Gleason, DEP sanitary engineer, said the major change from the current permit is that the new permit reduces the amount that can be discharged from a maximum of 850,000 gallons to 500,000 gallons, which is more in keeping with the company’s actual flows of about 185,000 gallons per day.

Sperry Mylott, Pfizer spokeswoman, said there will be no significant change in the company’s discharges. The existing permit allows for an average daily flow of 493,000 gallons per day, while the new one calls for an average of 250,000 gallons.

Gleason said the discharge is only from Pfizer’s research operations, and the wastewater will be treated at the municipal plant as it has been in the past.

The company has had a separate permit to discharge directly into the Thames River from its own treatment plant that received wastewater from manufacturing and building operations facilities on the west side of Eastern Point Road. Since Pfizer stopped manufacturing at the site in 2008 and reduced the capacity of the treatment plant, this permit now covers only discharges of cooling water used for the boiler and other operations equipment for the office complex.

Mylott said the new permit includes a new requirement that the company begin monitoring for ammonia and additional solvents in March.

As with the previous permit, the new one will require the company to monitor and adjust pH levels in its discharges and test for residues of about 25 pharmaceuticals, Gleason said.

Water used in research work that has the heaviest concentrations of pharmaceutical residues is separated and transported off-site for treatment, but other water is emptied into drains that go into the sewage treatment system, she said.

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Posted: December 2010