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The primary purpose of the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WTTP) is protecting the health and well-being of our community. The WWTP's objectives include: (1) prevention of disease and nuisance conditions; (2) avoidance of contamination of water supplies and navigable waters; (3) maintenance of clean water for survival of fish, bathing and recreation; and (4) general conservation of water for all uses. The process removes organics, solids and pathogenic organisms from the water or changes them from complex makeup to stable minerals or organics that can be compatible with the environment.
Without adequate wastewater treatment, many of the objectionable characteristics of decaying wastewater could show up in the local waterways. These could consist of noticeable things such as disagreeable odors, discoloration of the water, dying fish and sludge deposits or factors that cannot be seen, such as disease producing bacteria. The presence of any of these would certainly discourage or limit the beneficial and recreational use of the waterways we enjoy so much. By providing a wastewater treatment facility, we are preventing the adverse effects that could cause the degradation and pollution of all receiving water.
The City operates two (2) wastewater treatment plants that are staffed 365 days a year. These wastewater treatment plants treat a combined flow of 5.6 million gallons of wastewater per day for a total of 2.1 billion gallons per year. The operators perform daily operations of the main wastewater plant and the Rarity Ridge wastewater plant. These operations include running control tests on the different treatment process, evaluating the test results and making any necessary adjustments in the process to protect the receiving stream. Their duties also include maintaining the building and grounds at the plant. They assist the laboratory technician, maintenance department and environmental compliance officer when needed.
Many commercial and industrial establishments discharge waste through the public collection system to the WWTP instead of directly to lakes or waterways. These discharges may contain significant quantities of toxic pollutants and other substances that can affect the collection and treatment system and may interfere with its performance. The City has an Industrial Pretreatment program in place to monitor all commercial and industrial customers that discharge to the collection and treatment system.
The Environmental and Regulatory Compliance Coordinator (ERCC) has duties that include enforcement of the Industrial Pretreatment Program, the Backflow Prevention Program, and the land application of biosolids. The ERCC currently monitors 11 commercial and industrial facilities in the City that have industrial pretreatment discharge permits. All of these discharges are inspected and sampled semi-annually to insure compliance with their discharge permit.
The Backflow Prevention Program involves the inspection and testing by contract of approximately 1,400 backflow prevention devices currently installed in the City's water distribution system. Each device is tested annually to insure the proper working order to protect the potable water supply. Plans of new commercial and industrial facilities are reviewed for compliance with backflow prevention requirements.
The ERCC also oversees the operation of the treatment plant laboratory and the sample monitoring activities.
Maintenance is preserving assets and keeping equipment capacity available as required for the varied sections of operations. To be effective, the maintenance organization plans, estimates, and schedules its work. To be cost effective, they emphasize the philosophy of continuous improvement both in what tasks are being done and how they are done to improve the reliability and performance of the equipment being maintained.
The wastewater maintenance staff is responsible for all mechanical and instrumentation equipment located at the WTTP, the wastewater lift stations, the water booster stations, the outdoor swimming pool, and the indoor swimming pool. The maintenance crew will also design and install new equipment and controls where it is required throughout the City. Many of the special tools used by other City personnel are either fabricated or repaired by the maintenance crew.
The WTTP laboratory technician is responsible for conducting analytical testing in conformance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protocol to determine if the treatment plant is operating efficiently and within the limits of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit issued by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). The laboratory technician also performs analytical analysis on the receiving stream, the radioactive screening of biosolids applied to the Chestnut Ridge Landfill, and provides chemical and biological information to the wastewater staff.