Wastewater treatment plant stays steps ahead

Three Rivers Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) remains steps ahead in preparing for an emergency situation with the purchase of a 30,000-pound generator.
The 800-kilowatt generator was positioned on the site Thursday morning, and cost the plant nearly $1 million. With the generator, WWTP has the extra precaution in place to continue its operations in any emergency situation and provides a long-term “better value.”
“We can’t be without power,” Doug Humbert, WWTP superintendent, said.
WWTP filters wastewater from the city and the Village of Constantine, and then gravity flows the water back into the rivers of the city. Due to AEP’s dramatic increase in its rates, equipment that is “obsolete,” and with the risk of tornados and high winds that can potentially damage its power lines, the decision for the generator was made.
AEP Energy supplies WWTP with two sources of “line power.” When one fails, a computer switches the power to its secondary power source, which Humbert said has displayed damage. For the last 2-3 years, the secondary line power was being manually re-charged by a manpowered hand pump. The generator will be installed to replace the secondary line power.
“AEP restructured its rates about a year and a half ago; we were paying about $800 (to about $1,000) a month for the second line source, so now it is closer to $5,000,” Humbert said. “This was a expensive project, but there is a cost advantage. Long-term the installation for the new equipment will pay for itself through the savings.”
AEP Energy increased its rates at Wastewater Treatment Plants, instead of increasing rates for individual consumers, Humbert said.
The eight-feet wide, 10-feet tall, and 30-feet long generator will receive test trials in the coming weeks.
Samantha May can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or sam@threeriversnews.com

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