Clifton Sanitation and the Community
Clifton Sanitation District would additionally like to thank Mesa County Federal Mineral Lease District (MCFMLD) for awarding the District an additional $60,000.00 grant to assist in upgrading the existing digital closed caption television system (CCTV) and optimizing the GIS (Global Information System). The CCTV system is an aid in inspecting and evaluating underground infrastructure, pipelines, and confined spaces. The CCTV inspections evaluate and identify locations and causes of public and private sources of structural defects, operational defects, and help provide conceptual designs to improve sewer system performance and minimize potential sewer backups. The District maintains a geographical information system where the data from the camera inspection is manually entered and maintained. This project optimized the existing GIS system, allowing the District access to all data and other system information (such as age, service history, future inspection and maintenance schedules) necessary to seamlessly integrate as much information on sanitary and storm sewer assets as possible, and to actively participate with other similar agencies in our community, creating inter-agency cooperation, utilizing and sharing one resource among many, thus reducing the need to duplicate services. We, once again, thank MCFMLD for their assistance with this project that would have otherwise left the District with sub-standard equipment and information systems.
Wastewater Treatment Facility Project
Last summer, the State of Colorado adopted new standards for wastewater treatment plants to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus discharged to the State’s streams and reservoirs. Treatment plants, like the District’s, that treat more than 2 million gallons of wastewater each day will be required to reduce their treated water concentrations of nitrogen to less than 15 mg/L and phosphorus to less than 1 mg/L. One mg/L is equivalent to 1 part per million. To put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of one drop of vermouth in a railroad tanker car full of gin, or the equivalent of getting only four minutes of vacation time each year! And yet, algae blooms can be triggered in natural water bodies when the phosphorus concentration reaches 0.05 mg/L or 5 ug/L. Algae blooms are harmful because they can reduce the amount of oxygen available to fish and produce toxic compounds. Nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, can also encourage the growth of nuisance plants and animals, which can crowd out native species.
The District’s treatment facility discharges treated wastewater to a section of the Colorado River that is home to a wide variety of wildlife including Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Leopard Frog, and the endangered species Humpback Chub, Bonytail, Colorado Pikeminnow, and Razorback Sucker. Taking care of the river is a high priority for the District for both ecological and financial reasons.
The treatment process relies on microorganisms to consume the organic matter in raw wastewater and convert it to bacterial colonies called flocs. Individual floc particles are too small to be seen with the naked eye, but they are heavy enough to settle out rapidly from treated wastewater. The treatment process consists of a biological reactor called an aeration basin and a settling tank called a clarifier. When the process is working well, organic “food” enters the treatment plant and is mixed with the bacteria and other microorganisms in the aeration basin. Then, the mixture of treated wastewater and floc particles is transferred to the clarifier. Here, the flocs settle to the bottom and the clean, treated water flows out over the top to the next process: disinfection.
The process can be compromised when the bacterial populations in the floc colonies get out of balance. There are two main types of bacteria in the flocs: floc formers and filament formers. The floc formers tend to make dense, heavy particles of floc that separate easily from the treated water. The filament formers grow in long chains and can even grow in between floc particles connecting them together. This has serious consequences for treatment because it changes the way the floc particles settle. Imagine a group of skydivers jumping out of a plane. To slow their fall, the skydivers will join hands and spread their arms and legs as wide as they can. Having too many filament formers in the treatment process has the same effect – it slows down the separation process and decreases the amount of wastewater the treatment plant can process.
Happily, phosphorus removal and filament control can both be accomplished using a combination of biological treatment and chemical addition. Dewberry is designing anaerobic selectors and a chemical feed system that will be integrated into the existing treatment process. Anaerobic means without any oxygen present. An anaerobic tank can reduce the number of filaments that grow in the treatment process. Most filaments can’t tolerate being without oxygen even for short periods of time. An anaerobic zone can also remove phosphorus by encouraging the growth of very specialized bacteria that are capable of removing phosphorus from wastewater. Biological phosphorus removal is the most cost effective method available for reducing effluent phosphorus concentrations.
The District looks forward to reducing effluent phosphorus concentrations below State requirements and helping to preserve our beautiful State for future generations to enjoy. If you have questions or would like a tour of the treatment plant, please contact the District at 970-434-7422.
Working Together For Our Customers
In an effort to improve service to our customers, the Clifton Water District and the Clifton Sanitation District announce a resourceful agreement to combine billing services. With this recent agreement, customers will now receive a single bill from the Clifton Water District.