Early results of a new blower at the city’s wastewater treatment plant have been positive so far.
The new blower was installed late last year to replace an original piece of equipment from when the plant opened in 2009. The old blower was aging and needed to be replaced. It was expected to help the discharge process, but also help cut down on energy usage.
At Tuesday’s board of public works meeting, Water/Wastewater Superintendent Kevin Quaethem said the blower is working as planned. He said the real test will be in the summer when the plant is used more, but for now, everything has been good.
The blower helps control the dissolved oxygen (DO) found at the plant during the treatment process. There are meters at the plant to measure the DO and other data points to make sure the bacteria being discharged is where it needs to be.
Quaethem said the old blower would activate when the DO meter said attention was needed. He compared the old blower to a child with sugar — the meter would peak and then crash over and over again.
“Picture a line chart with something going up and down up and down — that’s the oxygen going into the vertical loop reactors,” he said. “Picture us, as humans, we eat a whole bunch of sugar and we’re up, and then we drop down. That’s what we were doing to the bacteria, which in turn effects the process.”
With the new blower, he said the DO meter has been a “nice level flow.” That flow means less energy being spent.
He said at a future board meeting, he should have a report of how much energy cost is being saved at the plant.
Quaethem said the plant never had any issues with the old blower, it just wasn’t the most efficient way to work.
“The new blower can ramp up and down as the DO is needed,” he said. “What we’re getting is a line that’s more stable. It’s going to stabilize the bacteria. It’s going to save the energy.”