Director Barry LaRoy
“Our wastewater facility is a publicly owned treatment works dedicated to providing the efficient transportation and treatment of wastewater from the metropolitan area. Wastewater personnel will place their highest priority on courteously serving the public and protecting the environment.”
The primary function of the Wastewater Department is the efficient operation and maintenance of the Monroe Metropolitan Wastewater Facility. Our department is charged with the protection of the environment and public health by the collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of the community’s wastewater.
The Wastewater Treatment Facility must operate in accordance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDES). That federal permit mandates how well the treatment facility must remove pollutants from the community’s wastewater. During normal flow periods the discharge is in compliance with the NPDES permit, however, during excessive wet weather and floods the treatment works has been overloaded with storm and groundwater. This produces flows that tax our treatment capacity. A recent flow study helps the Department update our computer models to aid in determining areas of immediate concern where rehab/replacement of collection system sewers are needed.
Public Act 170 of 1964 as amended by P.A. 222: Michigan’s new law (PA 222) is a legislative attempt to link municipal liability for basement flooding to the governmental agency responsible for the flooding. One of the new law’s requirements is public notification.
P.A. 222 is a legislative attempt to reconnect municipal liability for sewer backups into basements with responsibility for such events. The law now requires that claimants prove that the sewage disposal system had a defect, that the authority failed to correct the defect and that the defect was 50% or more the cause of the personal property damage or physical injuries. P.A. 222 currently impacts the Wastewater Department budget, however; only time and the Michigan Courts will determine if further impacts will occur.
U.S. EPA Phase II Storm Water Permit Requirements: On October 8, 1999 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) published the Phase II Storm Water Regulations for control of polluted discharges through municipal separate storm sewer systems (storm drains). At that time the Monroe area was not included in the list of Michigan municipalities subject to permitting requirements. However, the 2000 census report stated that the Monroe Urban Area now fits the criteria established for inclusion in the Phase II Storm Water Program.
Now that we have been included in the program, the affected municipalities are required to develop the following components:
1. Public education and outreach on storm water impacts.
2. Public involvement and participation for storm water program development.
3. Illicit connection detection & elimination.
4. Post construction storm water management in new development & redevelopment areas.
5. Construction site storm water management.
6. Pollution Prevention & good house keeping for municipal operations.
Because the Monroe Metropolitan Water Pollution Control System was established to protect the public health and safety by treating the community’s wastewater, it is essential that the Wastewater Department assist the affected municipalities in playing a major role in the storm water Phase II program. To that end the Wastewater Department has developed a program including all essential elements of the program. That program has been submitted to all Control Board Municipalities in the Monroe urban area. Such that the Wastewater Department participates in the illicit connection detection & elimination program for areas that are in the wastewater service area. Furthermore, the Wastewater Department will continue to assist affected municipalities with all tasks and with the development of Public Education, Public Outreach, and Public Involvement programs.
During a recent year the Wastewater Department’s Collection System transported more than 4.4-billion gallons of wastewater to the treatment facility for processing. More than 300-miles of sanitary sewer lines and 41-remote pumping stations provided service to approximately 18,000 residential and industrial customers in four-communities. Wastewater Department sewer crews have focused on discovering and eliminating sources of inflow infiltration (I & I). By reducing I & I, the Department can keep its reserve capacity for new customers, not for treating unwanted ground and surface water
Pump Station Accounts
37-pump stations are utilized throughout the area to convey the wastewater to the treatment at 2205 East Front Street for processing. Maintenance and operations of the pump stations are accounted for within this classification. Each year the Department builds more pump stations because of a greater need to serve new sub-divisions that are being built throughout the service area.
Administrative and General Accounts
Provide funds for Wastewater Department Administrative Personnel and includes other items essential to the operation and administration of the Wastewater Department. Computer billing costs are expensed from the Administrative Account Classification. Depreciation is also charged, and establishes funding for future equipment replacement projects. Adequately funded depreciation will provide our facility with the reserves necessary to comply with the many federal, state, and local laws and regulations that govern our operation.
During primary treatment, sand, grit, and solids that readily settle out, are separated from the wastewater. Bar screens, grinding units, grit removal tanks, primary settling tanks, and skimming devices remove roughly 50-percent of the incoming pollutants. Wastewater flowing out of the primary system still contains suspended and dissolved material that must be removed. The secondary treatment process utilizes a system commonly referred to as activated sludge. In this form of treatment, large quantities of compressed air are used to thoroughly and turbulently mix wastewater and microorganisms, which causes the microorganisms to rapidly reproduce. The microorganisms stabilize the waste material and produce an acceptable effluent. After aeration, the mixed liquor (the solution of waste and organisms) flows to final sedimentation tanks where the sludge is removed for processing. The clean water is then UV disinfected and discharged back into Lake Erie (ultimately recycling it back into Lake Erie from where it was originally drawn from). Small amounts of Chlorine are on site for wet weather disinfection. The wet weather effluent is treated with chlorine to kill potentially harmful microorganisms. Sodium bisulfate is added after disinfection to remove excess chlorine, as required by the Michigan Department of Environment Quality (MDEQ). During the process of cleaning wastewater, the facility removes 10-dry tons of sludge from the community’s wastewater every day. This sludge is stabilized with lime to kill harmful bacteria and is then disposed of in landfills.
History of the Wastewater Department
To comply with the 1972 Clean Water Act, a partnership was formed to expand the system and provide secondary treatment to residents in the City of Monroe, Monroe Charter Township, and Frenchtown Charter Township. To address mandated pollution control regulations, the collection system was expanded, pump stations were added and primary treatment works were up-graded to provide secondary treatment. To fund the local shares required for the improvements, the County of Monroe acted as the agent to issue bonds in the principal amount of $7,100,000. The partners entered into an operating contract referred to as the Base Contract. In the agreement, dated January 1, 1976, the City of Monroe agreed to lease the primary treatment facility to the County for a period of 40 years. The City of Monroe, Frenchtown Charter Township and Monroe Charter Township agreed to use funds from the bond sale to improve, enlarge, and extend the system. After the project was completed, possession was turned over to the City of Monroe. The City of Monroe is responsible for overseeing administration, operation, and maintenance of the Metropolitan System.