The City-Parish’s recently retooled “State of the Art” South Wastewater Treatment Plant (SWWTP) on Gardere Lane is officially in operation after nearly $250 million worth of construction work.
The project expanded the SWWTP’s capacity from 120 million to 200 million gallons per day, converted the 50-year-old plant into a state-of-the-art facility, and greatly improved the treatment efficiency and effluent quality. Operations of the revamped plant officially began on January 12 and have been running smoothly ever since.
"This is a major milestone for the City-Parish in our commitment to the citizens of Baton Rouge, to improve quality of life and environmental responsibility,” said Chief of Wastewater Operations and Maintenance Amy Schulze.”The staff of the DPW-Wastewater Treatment Operations and Maintenance Division worked tirelessly together to successfully start-up the SWWTP's new treatment operations. We are grateful to our employees for their efforts and to the public for their continued patience as we move towards this vitally important Program's completion.”
The expanded plant will allow for the closure of the old Central Wastewater Treatment Plant (CWWTP) off River Road between downtown Baton Rouge and LSU. Flows from the CWWTP are expected to be diverted to the SWWTP this summer. Plans call for the CWWTP to eventually be dismantled.
Last September, the SWWTP was showcased in a tour that was part of the Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference. The annual conference offers water quality professionals from around the world the best water quality education and training available today.
The expansion and revamp of the SWWTP is the largest capital improvement project in the history of East Baton Rouge Parish, and is part of the Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Program, an ongoing $1.3 billion revamp of the City-Parish’s aging sewer system.
The improvements to the sewer system were mandated by the federal government because the system occasionally overflowed during heavy rains, and sometimes backed up into homes and businesses.
In addition to improvements to the SWWTP, the SSO Program also includes:
• Rehabilitation of 5 million feet of pipeline.
• Upsizing of 1 million feet of sewage lines to increase capacity.
• Expansion of 150 of the City-Parish's more than 400 pump stations.
• Improvements to the North Wastewater Treatment Plant (NWWTP).
• Installation of backup generators for all pump stations and treatment plants, so the system can continue to function during power outages during hurricanes or other disasters.
• Installation of a system-wide electronic monitoring and control system to allow the continuous monitoring and operations of pump stations from a centralized location.
Public Works Director Bryan Harmon noted that while the work at the SWWTP has been completed to allow the receipt and processing of the sewer flows from the collection system, the collection system work is not yet complete and many of those improvements have yet to be connected to the plant.
“The SSO Program continues to move forward towards the implementation of all 110 projects to make whole its commitment to satisfying the Consent Decree and doing its part to make Baton Rouge America's next great city,” Harmon said. “Improvements will continue on the collection and pumping components of the sewer system, as well as the NWWTP, and we ask for your continued patience and understanding for the remainder of the Program. We will do our part to minimize inconveniences to the citizens of the City-Parish.”
Harmon said all elements of the improved sewer system won’t be fully functional until the later part of 2018.