Every time water runs down the drain in a sink in your home or you flush the toilet, you probably don’t think too much about that water leaving your residence. But the staff at the City of Roswell Wastewater Treatment Plant does. These trained personnel work hard on a daily basis treating the wastewater – both residential and industrial – created by water users throughout the city.
Overview of the Wastewater Treatment Plant
The city’s wastewater is treated using an activated sludge process. This process is the most widely used biological wastewater treatment in the industry. It includes the use of aeration and biological “floc,” which is composed of bacteria and protozoa. The activated sludge utilizes a dense microbial culture to biodegrade organic material. This process also causes solid material to separate and collect in settling units, removing them from the water.
The treatment process begins here, used water funnels to this point where water and solids begins to separate.
Once the water is treated, it has a second life. During the growing season, the water is used to irrigate crops but during the winter, the water is discharged into the Hondo River.
UV Light station used to disinfect the treated water prior to the water leaving the plant.
The wastewater plant, when fully staffed, has 22 employees. All employees have a wide variety of responsibilities, which can be broken up into divisions. There are plant operators, sewer crew, lab workers and pre-treatment employees. Plant operators complete the daily maintenance tasks to keep the plant running and do the grounds keeping. The sewer crew maintains more than 200 miles of gravity-flow sewer lines and four lift stations by cleaning sewer lines and manholes. This same crew also responds to citizen concerns like stop-ups and sewer odors. Lab employees pull samples to ensure treated water meets the standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and New Mexico Environment Department. Pre-treatment employees have a wide variety of tasks and responsibilities, which include inspecting grease traps (a device used by restaurants to intercept greases and solids before they enter the city’s wastewater disposal system), monitoring industrial waste permit holders, taking samples to measure BOD (biological oxygen demand), as well as the water’s pH and hardness. They also monitor samples from industrial waste permit holders for other pollutants.
Ammonia is removed from the water in this step of the process.
Wastewater employees offer additional services from those outlined. One of those additional services is house calls. When citizens have sewer problems, they can call the Wastewater Treatment Plant before calling the plumber. Staff can help troubleshoot the issue and try to fix the block or stop-up. Another additional service is providing compost to the public. If you are in need of compost call the Waste Water Treatment Plant to schedule a time to stop by the plant and pick-up compost all for free.
Plant employee works to prep and move compost.
The responsibilities related to wastewater are an integral part of keeping the city’s water supply clean and ensuring a healthy population. By maintaining and monitoring wastewater, the risks of an overflow or sewage spill, which can spread disease and pollute streets, are greatly reduced.
If you have questions about water standards for treated water or if you are looking to utilize services provided by the Wastewater staff, call (575) 622-1449 Monday through Friday 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; for after-hours emergencies, call (575) 347-5421.