Water: The Driving Force of All Nature

–Dave Lochner, wastewater plant superintendent

The recent completion of the two-year, $15 million renovation of the city’s wastewater system is a positive step toward decreasing our environmental footprint in Auburn. Not only will the new system improve the quality of water – both as a drinking source and as a habitat for plant and aquatic life – but it will also help us to use less electricity and be more energy efficient.

The first part of the renovation focused on our Wet Weather Storage/Treatment Facility, which today includes a 44 MGD pumping station, 2.5 million gallon store/treat tank, chlorination/dechlorination facility, and a post aeration structure. While some facets of this facility already existed, both the speed and the chlorination process were no longer the most advanced – or advantageous – for our growing city.

Secondly, the project included the renovation of one of our Wastewater Treatment Plants—quite antiquated at 70+ years old, given the number of technological enhancements being incorporated into plants today. The new plant encompasses a more advanced routing system that will increase the flow of water, yet require less electrical consumption, making it more energy efficient. And because it’s largely automated, it’s more cost-effective as well.

While wastewater is not what most of us would consider an exciting part of city maintenance, it’s an absolutely critical one. Every second of the day, we’re taking the wastewater generated from residences and businesses and recycling it by turning it back into clean water.  It’s not something most people in Auburn give thought to—yet, it impacts our livelihood in multiple ways.  An improved chlorination/dechlorination process and better filtration leads to less sewage, more oxygen for fish and plants, and a decreased risk for E.coli. Together, all that serves to preserve our water table, protect the public health, improve water quality, and conserve resources. That’s something we can get excited about.