The process by which physical, chemical, and biological processes remove contaminants from wastewater. The end result of wastewater treatment is treated waster that is safe enough to release back into the environment with minimum impact.

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THE 'BOMBSTAD" PUMP CALIBRATION MEASURING TOOL

THE 'BOMBSTAD" PUMP CALIBRATION MEASURING TOOL

Photo by Douglas Gayeton

THE 'BOMBSTAD" PUMP CALIBRATION MEASURING TOOL

(as explained by its inventor)
This device saves from having to descend into the Wet Well to measure water flow. How it works: mark a spot on gauge. Turn the pumps on. Record the time it takes to pump down three feet, at 377 gallons of water per foot. Divide the total by gallons/minute to determine how many gallons are being pumped into holding ponds daily.

WASTEWATER LIFT STATION
When the elevation of a wastewater or sewage source is too low, a lift station is used instead of gravity flow to transport wastewater to a holding pond for treatment.

RECORD KEEPING
A handwritten notebook that keeps track of how much rain gets into the system, the duration of pump run times, machinery calibrations as well as tricks operators have gathered for many years (example of a tip: if it rains 1.5 inches and water flow goes up the next day, watch for INFLOW INFILTRATION PROBLEMS, especially if stormwater is not kept out of sanitary lines in the town’s collection system (all pipes under the city streets that collect wastewater from each house)

WET WELL
Raw sewage from Atwater's residents (anything they flush or put down a drain) passes through here on its way to a nearby holding pond.

CONTROL PANEL
Records running time and automatically turns pumps on and off based on height of water.

THE MINNESOTA POLLUTION CONTROL AGENCY IS STRICT,” STEVE SAYS, “ BUT YOU CAN’T FAULT THEM FOR THAT. THEY LIKE TRYING TO PRESERVE GROUNDWATER AND CREEKS. YOU CAN’T JUST PUMP EVERYTHING INTO A LAKE.” In a city with only 1120 people, a Public Works Director is expected to maintain all city facilities (including the wastewater treatment plant), snow plow the streets, and even deliver the residents' water bills. “I’m responsible for our water, Steve observes, “and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is responsible for me,” By law, MPCA requires Steve to maintain records of the town’s water use. “They ask questions and tell me what to do now based on what’s happened in the past. The solution to pollution is dilution.”

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