What are the sources of wastewater?
A: Wastewater is
comprised of water from toilets, sinks, showers, manufacturing, laundromats, etc.
Rainwater and runoff from the streets are collected in separate stormwater sewers and
released to local waterways.
What are the costs to operate the plant per year?
A: 3.2 million dollars
many people work there?
A: 8 operators, 4
maintenance technicians, 1 plant supervisor, 3 lab analysts, 1 lab
director, 1 pretreatment inspector, 1 pretreatment manager.
discharge requirements hard to meet?
A: At times meeting requirements can present a significant challenge.
Since our advanced treatment systems are biological in nature, they are influenced by
weather, diurnal changes, wastewater flow changes, waste-strength fluctuations, etc.
Meeting our stringent discharge standards requires our facility to always operate at its optimum level.
What significant change have you seen in the creek and or habitat?
A: Steelhead and Salmon are now making their way upstream of the Water
Reclamation Facility outfall that is
several miles from the ocean.
What laws govern wastewater treatment, wastewater collection and pretreatment?
A: The Clean Water Act
(CWA) is the principal law that governs all of these programs. The CWAs primary
objective is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of
the Nations waters.
does the CWA work?
A: The formal
mechanism for implementing the CWA is the permitting system known as the National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. NPDES permits are required for all
dischargers to U.S. waters. The Citys Water Reclamation Facility is issued a permit
with specific requirements that protect San Luis Obispo Creek. Maximum fines for violating
the permit can range from $25,000 to $1,000,000/day.
does the CWA affect wastewater collection and pretreatment?
A: Both of these
programs have requirements relating to the CWA and the Citys NPDES permit. Discharge
of untreated wastewater from the collection system is considered a discharge violation and
these requirements are covered in the Citys NPDES permit. The pretreatment program
has a section in the CWA that specifically lists all the requirements for the program and
the industries it must monitor, sample and inspect. The Citys NPDES permit also has
a pretreatment section.
Does the City have any other CWA programs?
A: Yes. The City also has a general industrial storm water permit and
a biosolids program. The storm water program addresses the pollutants coming from
non-point sources from specific City facilities. This program ensures that the facilities
are reducing the pollutants in their storm run-off by ensuring materials are stored
properly, facilities are maintained and procedures are followed that reduce pollutants
discharged into storm water. The program
inspects, samples and monitors these facilities to ensure compliance.
Lately Ive heard several references to biosolids. What are biosolids?
A: Biosolids are the treated solids removed from the waste stream
during treatment. The Citys biosolids are anaerobically digested to reduce and
stabilize organic materials and virtually eliminate potential pathogens. If there are any
measurable levels of harmful materials such as metals and other toxics, those levels meet all of the stringent Federal and State
Another common name for biosolids is nitrohumus. Nitrohumus is commercially available
as Milorganite and Kelloggs compost at your local nursery. The Citys biosolids are
currently recycled for agricultural application in the San Joaquin Valley.