Wastewater plant recognized for excellence

Wastewater plant recognized for excellence
January 04
08:00 2018

Archie Elledge Wastewater Treatment Plant in Winston Salem was awarded the 2017 Operations & Maintenance Excellence Award from the Central Region of the N.C. Professional Wastewater Operators Committee.

The plant is one of two wastewater treatment plants that serves Forsyth County that handles 35 million gallons of wastewater a day from a network that consists of 1,750 miles of sewer mains and 52 wastewater pump stations.

The award recognizes “outstanding plant operation and maintenance efforts, according to the best use of the resources available to that facility.” The committee said the plant’s operators have “a consistent high level of professionalism and dedication to their customers and the environment.”

Plant staff was also commended for their devotion to professional development, training and certification and for their community outreach and education efforts, like plant tours they give to school groups and others. The award was presented at a conference in Raleigh in November.

Treatment of water typically lasts 24 hours and includes separating solid objects and heavier than water material out of wastewater, using microbes to remove contaminates and disinfecting it with chlorine. About 65 percent of the sludge that’s separated from the wastewater becomes fertilizer, with the rest going to the landfill. Treated water from the Elledge Plant is released into Salem Creek.

The plant is always open, and that requires operators to always be there.

“They work Christmas, New Year’s, every holiday, 365, 24 hours a day,” said Jon Southern, plant supervisor.

Southern said the award was a major accomplishment for the plant, which has met the high standards of state compliance for more than five years in a year now.

The plant has had issues with increased odors being reported by its neighbors on Griffith Road. The odor was coming from sulfides escaping into the atmosphere because a regulating valve failed after sulfides corroded one of its ports. Plant staff have worked to decrease odor by keeping the sulfides in the water with operational changes. They’re working on a permanent solution to the problem, but estimate that may take a year.

The issue has had no effect on the plant’s ability to treat wastewater or the quality of the treated water it produces.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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