WARSAW — Warsaw may be getting a large wastewater plant expansion within the next few years. A presentation on a possible wastewater plant expansion was given during last night’s, Feb. 21, Common Council meeting.
The current wastewater plant located on Silveus Crossing was first operational in 2012. According to data presented at the meeting, the current wastewater plant is expected to be at capacity as soon as 2020. Knowing that capacity is nearing, Brian Davison, Warsaw Utilities Manager, and Gary Ruston of Wessler Engineering were invited to the meeting to present ideas about the next steps the wastewater plant can take to the public.
There are two main decisions that need to be considered when looking forward. The first decision is whether to keep the plant as aerobic or change to an anaerobic system. The next decision is looking at what capacity the plant should expand to.
The current plant is an aerobic system, or with oxygen, but the old plant was anaerobic, without oxygen, before 2012. There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems.
The advantages to an aerobic system are lower initial construction costs and that the employees would be more familiar with the system and not have to change the way they currently work. The disadvantages to an aerobic system are that there are higher long term costs, the system is a high energy consumer, it produces more sludge for processing and disposal and the system would be limited to 10 million of gallons a day on the current site.
The only disadvantage for an anaerobic system is that there are higher initial costs. The advantages to this system include lower long term costs, possibility as an energy producer, less sludge produces and a capacity availability of 12 MGD.
Ruston told the board that in his opinion the anaerobic option would be a better fit for Warsaw in the long run.
The main reason for the expansion is the capacity limit of the current plant. In 2016, the plant averaged at 85 percent capacity. At 90 percent capacity, IDEM issues an early warning sewer ban and at 100 percent issues a complete sewer ban. A sewer ban would mean that no new houses or businesses could be added to the current sewer system.
There are different levels that the plant could expand to depending on how long term of a solution the town wants and how much money the expansion would cost. No costs were presented at the meeting as right now the team is just looking into all the options available. Davison estimated that the current plant could hit 100 percent capacity within three years. A complete expansion project would take up to a little over three years to complete.
“It’s a good problem to have,” said Davison. “It means things are happening in this community. It just means a new treatment plant is also necessary.”
A more comprehensive presentation will be given to the board in the next three to four months. This plan is expected to have estimated costs for the board to consider.