City upgrades treatment plants

Greg Kohlrieser and Greg Kohlrieser

The city of Bowling Green Utilities Department is taking steps to clean up its act in the form of upgrades to the Waste Water and Water Treatment Plants.

The expansion to the Waste Water plant is a 2.0 million gallons a day addition with numerous benefits to the community.

“One of the things we’re doing is we’re converting from Class B sludge to Class A sludge,” Norman Langenderfer, Assistant Director of Utilities for the City of Bowling Green, said.

Sludge is the final end product in the form of a solid that has to be disposed of in the waste water treatment process. By upgrading to Class A sludge from Class B, the water becomes much more safe, Langenderfer said.

The sludge is broken down and removed from the water, but there still are solids that are left over, which are normally applied on local agricultural fields. The Waste Treatment plant also has the ability to put the sludge through a centrifuge, which allows them to dispose of the sludge as a dry, soil-type material.

In addition to the improved capacity of the Waste Treatment plant, there are other numerous upgrades to the facilities taking place.

A jet aeration system, which pumps liquid and air together, will be put in place to assist in the waste removal. The new aeration system is much more energy efficient than the current system.

The plant’s digestion tank, which holds the waste, is being expanded, and a septage receiving unit is being added to the facility. The receiving unit will enable the treatment plant to receive waste that needs to be disposed of from portable waste containers and other devices.

The current upgrade to the waste management facilities does not come without cost. The Waste Treatment plant was able to receive loans from the Environmental Protection Agency to finance the expansion.

The renovation to the Waste Treatment plant is scheduled for completion in March or April of 2005.

The Bowling Green Water Treatment plant is also undergoing upgrades. A .62 MGD expansion is currently being added to the exisiting faciliity. This will allow water to be pumped at a higher rate, making drinking water more safe.

In 2003, the City of Bowling Green’s public water system had a maximum contaminent level violation for nitrate levels in the water. The violations occured from Jan. 27, 2003 until Feb. 13, 2003. The high nitrate levels were attributed to the high levels of nitrate in Bowling Green’s source water from the Maumee River. The extreme droughts of 2002, followed by abnormal precipitation in the fall of 2002 and early 2003 led the river to have higher than normal nitrate levels for more than three months, according to the City of Bowling Green Water Treatment Plant.

Prior to the nitrate violation, Bowling Green’s water system had not exceeded the MCL for nitrates in the drinking water.