Wetlands & Water Reclamation
What is Water Reclamation?
Water reclamation just means to reclaim or make water new again. We, as humans, continually reuse the water on earth and how we treat the liquid waste we produce has a huge impact on the environment we live in. As population densities continue to grow on this planet, it becomes increasingly important to do a good job of cleaning up after ourselves, to reduce the negative impact on the environment we live in. A water reclamation facility removes or neutralizes pollutants in our sewage waste stream, returning clean, pathogen free water back into the environment.
The El Dorado Wetlands and Water Reclamation Facility is responsible for treatment of the City's sanitary sewer. Our typical average daily flows are about 2 million gallons per day (MGD). The capacity of the main treatment plant is 6 MGD, however the constructed wetlands add an additional 25 million gallons of storage/treatment for large wet weather events.
Upon entering the headworks of the plant, trash and grit are the first things removed from the raw influent.
Flow is then subject to Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) in our bio-basin. Continuing through the plant, flows settle in two circular clarifiers and nutrients that have been transformed into solids by bacteria are sent to aerobic digesters. These digesters work like "liquid composting", further breaking down the organic matter. The clean top water is sent through an ultra-violet (UV) disinfection process before entering the effluent pond. The effluent works its way through the pond and is discharged to the river. The by-products of nutrient removal are digested and then sent to a centrifuge where the dewatering process occurs. After the solids have been dewatered, city staff creates wind-rows of bio-solids and wood chips are added to aid in the composting process prior to land application as a Class-A fertilizer.
Unique to most treatment plants is our utilization of constructed wetlands for high rain events. Wetlands are nature's way of removing pollutants from water, however, mechanical plants speed this process up treating more water in a smaller footprint. With that being said, wetlands do a great job of treatment and can be a real money saver when designing new plants. Our wetlands allowed us to downsize our plant and saved the city about $2 million in construction costs.
Bio-solids can be a very useful by-product of Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR). Containing high levels of nutrients in a spreadable form, bio-solids can be used for a number of different things. Our focus at the plant is to use them as fertilizer for our surrounding crop land. We also try to offer a sufficient amount for citizens throughout the community. Allowing us to distribute bio-solids for the consumer requires an additional level of treatment of the bio-solids. In order to achieve a higher quality product, the bio-solids must be composted with a 50% mixture of wood chips. Composting is a rigorous regime of turning and temperature monitoring for about 4 weeks. Additional tests are completed to rule out harmful pathogens in addition to our heavy metal and nutrient sampling. Upon completion of this process we have a product available for most household uses. All biosolids are Class A used in accordance with the requirements of 40 CFR part 503, subpart D (or equivalent regulatory requirements). All Class A biosolids have been treated to Alternative 4 and Vector Attraction Reduction Strategy Option 1. If you are interested in more information concerning our bio-solids program or would like to obtain some, please contact Jason Patty by email or at 316-322-4981.
In 2008, the El Dorado Wetlands & Water Reclamation Facility won both the State and National awards from the American Public Works Association (APWA) for Environmental Project of the Year. The Kansas Water Environment Association (KWEA) is the State's professional organization for the Wastewater Industry. Each year KWEA recognizes the top facility in the State with the "Plant Award". This award is really about recognition of plant operators who have done an outstanding job of plant operation and maintenance. The award is all about the quality of the operation. Award winners are selected based on plant performance, completeness of plant records, maintenance and maintenance records, schedules and programs, and the general appearance of plant and grounds. A nomination followed by an audit of wastewater professionals are used to select the winners. During the inspection, all aspects of the operation are evaluated and scored. One facility in each of three size classes is chosen for that years’ KWEA Plant of the Year Award. El Dorado's Wetlands and Water Reclamation Facility has been privileged to win the top plant in State award in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016. Plants are not allowed to win this top award more than two years in a row, so El Dorado's Plant had to sit out in 2011, 2014 and again in 2017. Our plant operators are "Rock Stars" in the world of wastewater treatment and caring for the environment.
If you haven’t been out to tour the facility I would encourage you to do so. Contact Marie Vergara by email or at 316-322-4981 to schedule a tour.