Water Reclamation & Reuse Facility
Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Water Reclamation & Reuse Facility (WRRF) what smells in Moscow?

No. Offensive odors are indications that something in the treatment process is not working correctly. To ensure the treatment process is working correctly, Plant Operators make daily assessments of the system checking for potential odor causing problems.

Where does the water go?

In accordance with our EPA regulated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, the City of Moscow discharges the treated wastewater into Paradise Creek on the west side of Moscow.

What happens to the solid material?

The solids that are removed during the plant process are pumped to an onsite dewatering process. After dewatering the solids, then known as Biosolids, are trucked to an authorized processing facility for composting.

Where are you located?

Directly across from the Palouse Mall in Moscow ID, our buildings have distinctive, and very noticeable, blue roofs.

How long does it take to treat the wastewater?

Generally, the wastewater treatment process takes approximately 24 – 36 hours.

Do you use a lot of chemicals to treat the wastewater?

We use three different chemicals in our plant process. Chlorine is added to neutralize pathogenic, or disease causing organisms. After chlorination, sulfur dioxide is added to remove the chlorine before it is discharged into Paradise Creek. During the summer months we add a small amount of aluminum sulfate to coagulate, or capture, phosphorus that was not removed biologically in the treatment process. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient in plant growth yet excessive amounts can lead to eutrophication, an overabundance of plants and algae in a water body causing the depletion of oxygen needed for fish and other animals to survive.

How many people work at the Water Reclamation & Reuse Facility?

Currently, we have 4 Plant Operators, 1 laboratory Analyst, 1 Administrative Assistant, 1 Transport Driver, and the Plant Supervisor.

How many gallons of wastewater do you treat?

On average, we treat approximately 2 million gallons of domestic wastewater per day. Our plant is designed to accept and fully treat 4 million gallons per day if needed.

How does rain affect the wastewater treatment plant?

Rain water tends to thin out the domestic wastewater allowing certain unwanted bacteria to thrive. Plant Operators make adjustments in the plant process to curtail the unwanted filamentous bacteria. The City works to identify where rainwater is entering the sanitary sewer system so that the flows can be permanently redirected to the storm water collection system.

What type of education do you need to work here?

While most Plant Staff have college degrees, working in wastewater treatment can commence directly after High School.

How many "bugs" does the Aeration Basin have?

Millions and millions of microorganisms or "bugs" live in the wastewater treatment plant. They are essential for proper treatment and are directly responsible for pollution removal.

What do the "bugs" eat?

The microorganisms consume organic material such as fecal matter, ammonia, and other microorganisms. They cannot consume or break down inorganic material like metal, plastic, latex, or cinders.

Where do the "bugs" come from?

The "bugs" are natural living organisms in human and animal excrement.

How do the microorganisms reproduce?

The microorganisms reproduce themselves approximately every 20 – 30 minute by a process called mitosis.

What "bugs" do you look for?

We look for several different types of microorganisms in wastewater. Our Lab Analyst collects daily wastewater samples, and uses a microscope to identify the most prolific number and type of organisms present at that time. This information is used to calculate how much solids material is removed from the system or how much material can be used in the process again.

Is it acceptable to put grease, egg shells, and coffee grounds in my garbage disposal?

The City of Moscow Wastewater Division recommends that these items be disposed of in the garbage rather than being introduced to the sanitary sewer system. All of these materials, and in particular, a combination of the three can create opportunities for plugging private sewer services and public sewer mains. Grease is especially challenging as it solidifies within the mains or floats through the system and through the WRRF.

​Contact Us

Engineering Division
Kevin Lilly - Deputy Director - Engineering/City Engineer
Paul Mann Building
221 E. Second Street
Moscow, Idaho 83843


Streets, Fleet,
Water & Water Reclamation Divisions

Tyler Palmer - Deputy Director - Operations
201 N. Main Street
Moscow, ID 83843

​​Water Reclamation & Reuse Facility
Todd J. Swanstrom - Wastewater Manager
2221 Pullman Road
Moscow, Idaho 83843