This enormous public works project completed last year is charged with reclaiming water and other usable material from the City’s sanitary sewer system. The enormity of the project was due to completely rebuilding the facility within the footprint of the old one without shutting anything down – ever. We have switched from an incineration plant to an anaerobic digestion plant. The facility used to be among the largest users of electricity and natural gas. Now it uses very little of either. A byproduct of the digestion process is methane gas, which is cleaned and used on-site to fuel micro-turbines that make electricity. The effluent material is used to transfer heat throughout the buildings.
Our safety is improved by the complete removal of all chlorine tanks at the facility as all disinfection processes now use ultraviolet (UV) light instead of chlorine.
Following treatment, waste water is discharged into the Mississippi River. The discharged water is substantially cleaner than the river water it flows into.
New Federal regulations on nutrient reduction will require some expensive updating of this new facility in the very near future. This could not be correctly done during the initial construction of the project as the needed result was not yet known.