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Big snow, rain swell flow at wastewater plant

Between the heavy rains, deep snow and arctic cold temperatures that made up much of the weather over the past month, life at the regional wastewater treatment plant has been anything but normal.
As has been reported numerous times over the past year or two, average flow into the Pepper’s Ferry Regional Wastewater Treatment Authority plant normally runs around four million gallons per day (MGD).
However, Superintendent Mac McCutchan said Thursday that the average flow for the month of December – seven MGD – was the highest he has seen since he went to work for the plant when it opened in the late 1980s. He reported that the average flow was 13.5 MGD on Dec. 9, 10.77 MGD on Dec. 10, 12.8 MGD on Dec. 13 and 12 MGD on Dec. 14.
McCutchan estimated that a flow of about 16.5 MGD was pumped at the New River Pump Station over a four-hour period from 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Dec. 9 alone.
Despite the excessive flows, he said there were no bypasses or overflows at the Radford or New River pump stations or at the main treatment plant. He noted that “the hydraulics associated with these storm water flows are severe and upsetting to the treatment process when the surges to the plant reach the magnitude and duration” experienced during December.
But if the heavy flow isn’t enough to upset the balance of organisms used in the treatment process, McCutchan said the extreme cold temperatures now settled over the area are compounding the problem. He noted that water at the plant has been registering 46 degrees over the past five days.
“I’ve never seen it below 54 degrees,” he told members of the Authority’s board of directors. “The bacteria’s not very happy,” he added.
Besides being hard on the organisms, he said cold water also results in poor settling of solids in the treatment process.
As a result of the weather-related turmoil, plant efficiency was only 92 percent during December. Although it normally runs in the area of 98 percent, the lower figure is still well within required parameters.
Board members said the staff should be commended that only three of more than 300 chlorine tests performed were “off” from normal readings, especially considering the problems caused by the flows and low temperatures. The plant is allowed to have as many as 36 unsatisfactory tests.

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Big snow, rain swell flow at wastewater plant

Between the heavy rains, deep snow and arctic cold temperatures that made up much of the weather over the past month, life at the regional wastewater treatment plant has been anything but normal.
As has been reported numerous times over the past year or two, average flow into the Pepper’s Ferry Regional Wastewater Treatment Authority plant normally runs around four million gallons per day (MGD).
However, Superintendent Mac McCutchan said Thursday that the average flow for the month of December – seven MGD – was the highest he has seen since he went to work for the plant when it opened in the late 1980s. He reported that the average flow was 13.5 MGD on Dec. 9, 10.77 MGD on Dec. 10, 12.8 MGD on Dec. 13 and 12 MGD on Dec. 14.
McCutchan estimated that a flow of about 16.5 MGD was pumped at the New River Pump Station over a four-hour period from 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Dec. 9 alone.
Despite the excessive flows, he said there were no bypasses or overflows at the Radford or New River pump stations or at the main treatment plant. He noted that “the hydraulics associated with these storm water flows are severe and upsetting to the treatment process when the surges to the plant reach the magnitude and duration” experienced during December.
But if the heavy flow isn’t enough to upset the balance of organisms used in the treatment process, McCutchan said the extreme cold temperatures now settled over the area are compounding the problem. He noted that water at the plant has been registering 46 degrees over the past five days.
“I’ve never seen it below 54 degrees,” he told members of the Authority’s board of directors. “The bacteria’s not very happy,” he added.
Besides being hard on the organisms, he said cold water also results in poor settling of solids in the treatment process.
As a result of the weather-related turmoil, plant efficiency was only 92 percent during December. Although it normally runs in the area of 98 percent, the lower figure is still well within required parameters.
Board members said the staff should be commended that only three of more than 300 chlorine tests performed were “off” from normal readings, especially considering the problems caused by the flows and low temperatures. The plant is allowed to have as many as 36 unsatisfactory tests.

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