Before a series of upgrades, totaling $27 million (€22 million) over five years, at the City of Washington’s wastewater treatment plant in Indiana, even the smallest amount of rainfall would cause an overflow.
The money was a significant sum, but as any municipal works superintendent would tell you, funding is a long and complicated process.
Prior to the installation in 2012 of a fixed bar screen, Superintendent Scott Rainey and his team at the treatment plant could be forgiven for any choice words uttered as they painstakingly pulled out large debris from a fixed overflow weir (installed in 1988), that was overwhelmed during storm events.
With a collection system comprising of combined sanitary and storm sewers with four Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), treatment had sometimes been as complicated as funding – but again, learning to be patient, resilient and resourceful was very much part of responsible wastewater treatment plant life.
“Our old screen just kept on blinding,” said Scott Rainey, who has served the City of Washington’s WWTP for the past 16 years.
“Back-ups were all too regular. We knew – and we wanted to take action...
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