Turning Waste Water to Crystal Clear Water

By Brett Martin | bmartin@kolr10.com

Published 06/30 2014 07:04AM

Updated 07/03 2014 08:32AM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Whether its raw water, septic tank discharge or restaurant fats, oils, grease, known as FOG, is treated carefully in Springfield.

"If its milk or some type of liquid that's been diluted, I will pour that down the drain," says Marrgenea Omamojasa, a Springfield resident.

Kelly Green is the Plant Manager at Springfield's Southwest Clean Water Plant treats 90% of the city's waste water each day.

"We average about 28 million gallons a day right now," says Green.

The 60 acre facility sits south of James River Freeway near MO-FF on the southwest side of Springfield. The plant is manned and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Green says it takes a drop of water to travel through the system between 12 to 24 hours depending on the flow.

The process takes four main stages to turn grayish waste water into a crystal clear water.

It starts in the head works facility where the water comes through the pipes and begins the process. The water is filtered there for any rags and skimmed to remove grease and oils. Green says the grease can damage the equipment within the facility.

The next step of the process is the aeration basin, where the treatment actually begins.

"Basically what we do is create a specific set of conditions to cultivate a specific type of bacteria to consume the waste and perform the treatment."

Green says biologist use a tremendous amount of science to create the perfect scenario to allow microorganisms to remove the bacteria.

After the water is moved quickly through the aeration basin, it moves to the clarifier.

"What we do is we bring that water out of the aeration basin with all the microorganisms in it, bring it in here and we slow the flow down. Those bacteria and microorganisms settle to the bottom and the clean water filters off the top," explains Green.

The water moves from the clarifier to the disinfection stages before its discharged creating the south leg of Wilson’s Creek.

"The next step it goes through a small filtration for any fine solids, then it comes over to our Ozone disinfection."

Green says the Ozone is a cleaner, more environmentally friendly disinfectant.

"It is the strongest oxidizer, the only residual is Oxygen so it is the best overall for the environment and the water being discharged."

Green says the people of Springfield and cities downstream on Wilson’s Creek should feel confident in the quality of water they are treating.

"I really feel that the people of Springfield should be proud of the Wastewater plants that they have, both plants are award winning plants."

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