New Monterey Waste Water Treatment Plant Is Doing Well
Monterey, VA – Monterey’s new waste water treatment plant has been running since early June. Within a few days of the start-up, the plant was able to discharge water that met Virginia Department of Environmental Quality standards. Manager Mike Isles says construction on the new plant actually began mid April of 2009. He says the harsh winter took its toll, but they were able to complete construction this year.
At the present time the plant is using chlorine and sulfur treatment as a final step in reducing bacterial numbers in the discharge water. The plant’s ultraviolet antibacterial system has not been started up yet. Mike expects the transition to the UV system to occur soon.
“It’s still kind of up in the air what DEQ is going to require as far as testing of the residuals from the UV [ultra violet treatment]” says Isles. “Hopefully we’ll have this issue resolved in the next month or two and be able to put that UV basin in service.”
The new plant uses bacterial digestion of the waste water solids. Powerful electric blowers mix and aerate the waste water to maximize bacterial action. The final steps in the treatment process involve formation of solid sludge that will be trucked to the Augusta land fill for disposal. Early performance of the plant has been very good and the discharge water is well within DEQ guidelines.
The new plant will use more electricity than the old one, but should not need to use chemical disinfectants, so the town will spend more on the electric bill, but should save on the cost of chemicals. The new plant will also require more labor due to the increased time needed for the sampling, water testing, and data recording.
Mike is grateful to have an assistant to help with the work at the plant – Highland HS student Dustin Chadman. Isles says Dustin has worked with him for almost three years and has proved to be a reliable worker.
The flow meter program will continue a while longer. There appear to be a few locations around town where water is entering the sewage lines. So far this summer, rains have not created flows too large for the plant to handle, but repairing the water entry points will be a priority for the future, so the plant can continue to operate within DEQ guidelines.
“We’re probably not going to find every little avenue the water is getting in, but we can use it as a tool to direct us where the worst parts of our system are” says Isles. “We’ve been able to rule out some suspect areas which was kind of a shock and a pleasant surprise that we weren’t getting water in some areas that we thought we were.”
But he says they also found water in other areas they hadn’t anticipated, so investigations are ongoing.
The Monterey town council was able to pay for the new water treatment plant through a USDA Rural Development program that pays 75% of the cost and includes a low interest loan to the town for the other 25%. The new waste water treatment plant promises to meet the town of Monterey’s needs for many years to come.