Where does wastewater come from?

Homes – Human and household waste from toilets, sinks, baths, and drains.

Industry, Schools, and Businesses – Chemicals and other waste from factories, food-services operations, airports, shopping centers, ect.

On average each person contributes 50-100 gallons of waste per day.

How do treatment plants protect our water?

Removes Solids – This includes rags, sticks, sand and smaller particles found in wastewater.

Reduces Organic Matter and Pollutants – Helpful bacteria and other microorganisms are used to consume organic matter in wastewater. The bacteria and microorganisms are then separated from the water.

Restores Oxygen – Treatment facilities help ensure the water put back into our lakes or rivers has enough oxygen to support life.

How does a wastewater treatment plant work?

Primary Treatment – Removes 40-50% of the solids. Sanitary sewers carry wastewater from homes and businesses to the treatment plant. Bar screens let water pass, but not trash. The trash is collected and properly disposed. A grit chamber is a large tank that slows down the flow of water. This allows sand, grit, and other heavy solids to settle at the bottom for removal later.

Secondary Treatment – Completes the process, so that 85-90% of the pollutants are removed. A secondary sedimentation tank allows the microorganisms and solid waste to form clumps and settle. A disinfectant, such as chlorine, is added to the wastewater before it leaves the treatment plant. The disinfectant kills disease-causing organisms in the water. After treatment the water can be returned to nearby waterways.

Who operates treatment plant?

The daily treatment plant operation is conducted by highly trained and certified operators

 - A plant manager/supervisor to ensure the plant has enough money, trained personnel, and equipment to conduct business.

 - Maintenance personnel to prevent mechanical failures and solve equipment problems.

 - Plant operators who know how to treat wastewater properly before discharging it into the environment. After a thorough training and exam process, operators are licensed through the state of Michigan.

What can I do to help?

Dispose of household products safely – Don’t pour solvents, pesticides, paint thinners, engine oil, or household cleaning products with hazardous chemicals down the drain. Take them to a recycling center or hazardous waste collection site. Cooking oils and grease should be collected in a container, covered, and disposed of. Oils and grease collected in the sewer system are a major cause of blockages and sewer back-ups.