Many wastewater treatment facilities are experiencing the need to expand due to the ever growing population. The Eau Claire Wastewater Treatment Plant is one of these facilities. A plan for the plant- which was devised years ago, suggested adding an activated sludge process with biological phosphorus removal capability to meet increasing demand and adhere to new regulations. A higher level of treatment normally means using more energy. Eau Claire was able to counteract that increase by using more biogas and heat recovery; adding high-efficiency motors, blowers, and mixers. Serving 75,000 people, the plant has an average flow of 5.1 mgd (million gallons/day).
The $40 million project has displayed immediate improvement for treatment efficiency. There is additional generating capacity and an anticipated savings of approximately $300,000 a year for the plant- at current electricity rates. The plant’s heating needs are being met partly by heat recovery from the engines (about 20 percent of demand) and by the addition of boilers for digester heating by using the gas produced. Also in progression is the reclaiming of effluent and using it for purposes including: cleaning and washing a variety of equipment, including the gravity belt thickener, process tanks, and washer/compactor screens, general site cleaning and landscape irrigation. One result of the new treatment system is more solids, since more waste material is being captured. The plant’s bio solids are spread on area farms. The city will make continual efforts to improve its infrastructure, as some of the water and sewer mains date back to the 1880’s.
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