February 17th, 2011
JEROME, ID— We are pleased to announce that as of yesterday, we were able to treat 2.5 million gallons and discharge clean, treated water into the canal. As of Tuesday the 15th, we were discharging about 300K gallons of untreated wastewater, however we are now containing excess flows in a tank to be heavily chlorinated before discharging into the canal.
In addition to this process, the next step in our recovery is to bring the MBR Plant back online. In order to do this, we need to build solids to a consistent 8,000-12,000 mg/l in the #1 Aeration Basin. We are currently at 11,000 mg/l. The goal is to bring the membrane facility back to full capacity so it can take the high flow levels without fouling. If the solids are not at this concentration level, the membranes have a greater opportunity of fouling (plugging) and will not operate as designed. The membrane is a sophisticated process, but very delicate and based on precise scientific calculations. Not only do we need to build the solids up to the correct concentration, but filterability is also a major factor. Currently our filterability is a 3 and we cannot operate the membranes at full capacity until we are above 10. We will be utilizing all chemical means to improve our filterability, however the chemical shipments have not arrived yet. They are scheduled to arrive on Saturday with another load arriving next Tuesday. This chemical should help “speed up” the filterability and allow the membranes to operate at a full 100% flow. We are also applying odor suppressant enzymes on the affected area to help prevent odor. Plant cleanup will then ensue, and we have a lot to clean up.
Fortunately, we are making significant progress. We have both of our bio-towers operating at full capacity, which will help reduce the incoming loadings. In addition, we now have MBR basin #4 operable. In the meantime, the odor is predominantly coming from the area saturated by the spills and overflows. To abate this, we have heavily chlorinated the grounds at the Wastewater Treatment Plant to start reducing the odors and mitigate health issues caused by the plant overflows.
Please be aware that DEQ, EPA, and the Northside Canal are aware of our situation and have been kept apprised of our issues and the progress being made. For any questions, please call 324-7122.
John Boyd, Director of the Water Works Department