A $3 million expansion and upgrade of Tremonton City, Utah’s wastewater treatment facilities is complete.
This upgrade includes a new process for removing phosphorus and other harmful nutrients before water is sent back out into the environment, according to the Herald Journal.
According to Public Works Director Paul Fulgham, the project is the result of new federal requirements to improve water quality.
Fulgham and his crew are now tasked with creating the right conditions to promote the growth of the bacteria that consume the nutrients and allow the facility to meet new federally mandated limits on nutrients discharged into the river, reported the Herald Journal.
“It’s a brand new process for us,” said Fulgham. “Our job is to keep our bugs happy, and we do that with food, oxygen, and then removing some to where we do not overpopulate. We’re kind of bug herders. This treatment facility is a living, functioning thing.”
Phosphorus and other elements coming from farms, wastewater and other sources contribute to the growth of algal blooms.
The facility has also installed a new screen at the point where raw sewage and wastewater first come in. According to Fulgham, the screen catches a lot of material, such as cell phones and misplaced false teeth that ended up going down the drain.
Another component of the upgrades is the addition of a second dewatering screw, a device that runs the treated wastewater through a pressurized chamber, squeezing it through a fine mesh screen to separate liquids from solids, reported the Herald Journal. The solids are then transported to the city’s composting facility out near the county landfill.