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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.
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Directly across from the Palouse Mall in Moscow ID, our buildings have distinctive, and very noticeable, blue roofs.
Currently, we have 4 Plant Operators, 1 laboratory Analyst, 1 Administrative Assistant, 1 Transport Driver, and the Plant Supervisor.
While most Plant Staff have college degrees, working in wastewater treatment can commence directly after High School.
Generally, the wastewater treatment process takes approximately 24 – 36 hours.
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.
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.
The solids that are removed during the plant process are pumped to an on-site dewatering process. After dewatering the solids, then known as Biosolids, are trucked to an authorized processing facility for composting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The "bugs" are natural living organisms in human and animal excrement.
The microorganisms reproduce themselves approximately every 20 to 30 minute by a process called mitosis.
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.
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.