Blairsville, Ga – Blairsville’s Wastewater (WWTP) plant to begin processing leachate from local landfills after City Council approves a partnership with The Water Authority (TWA).
TWA approached Superintendent of WWTP Jody Cook two months ago about allowing the company to use the plant for leachate processing. Blairsville’s WWTP makes a good candidate to take on processing due to the extra capacity in the tanks. TWA will pay the city $0.5 per gallon for the amount of leachate that the city accommodates.
“We’ve crunched the numbers and the amount of air available, we can treat it, and it would be a lot of revenue for the city,” explained Cook, “The only thing that we’ll have to purchase would be a pump because we don’t have an in-ground tank. We’re going to do a trial period, and they’ll give a pump until we get it approved by the city.”
In last month’s city council meeting, Cook and the council decided against adding leachate out of concerns that ammonia levels would be too high. However, after spending more time analyzing the procedure, Cook and TWA found that the WWTP can process leachate as long as enough air is available.
TWA’s proposal of $0.5 per gallon will provide the city in the worst case scenario with $526,600 a year if the plant only processes 28,800 gallons a day. The best-case scenario: if the plant can process 93,600 gallons a day, then TWA will pay the city $1,708,200 a year.
Councilman Tony Dyer asked, “This all is going to be hauled to us?”
Mayor Jim Conley confirmed, “It would be hauled to us and pumped into one of our digesters that is not in use at this time.”
It won’t alter the existing process at the WWTP, just act as an additive. It’s a chance for extra revenue for the city. Blairsville’s WWTP currently using approximately 30 percent of the facilities capacity at the moment.
“I don’t think they’ve tried it in an SVR plant before, which is why they want to have a trial,” said Cook, “We can’t violate our permit period, so if that happens then we don’t do it. I don’t foresee that, and we have no issue with ammonia, and we’re not using all the air in the tank now.”
The plan’s to start slow and let the organisms acclimate to the leachate with 5 gallons a minute for two weeks, then increase it to ten gallons a minute. Eventually, leachate will reach the 15 gallons a minute and maintain that setting.
Ellijay has implemented a similar process, and Cook visited the facility to see how it works and how Blairsville can undertake the process.
“I talked to the operator down there, and he said as long as you’ve got enough air, then you can treat it. There’s nothing else bad in it. It’s just high ammonia,” stated Cook.
TWA’s a Georgia Environmental Service Company and owned by several parties including State Senator Steve Gooch who explained that the treatment of leachate by under capacity plants’s a “good source of revenue for the city.”
“Typical municipal systems and septic waste systems take it,” said Gooch, “It’s a clean and effective way to dispose of the liquid and to treat it.”
Leachate consists of water, suspended materials, dissolved solids, nitrogen, and other organic substances, which makes it ideal to supplement the WWTP living ecosystem. The nitrogen will turn into ammonia during the aeration.
By adding leachate to the plant on days when the plant can’t maintain a level feeding schedule for the organisms in the WWTP. By using an empty process tank to store the leachate, it can readily meter the substance into the plant.
Until recently, most activated sludge plants operated at a max flow of 200mg/L BOD and TSS at 20mg/L ammonia loading. The TKN will be around 40-60mg/L. To better illustrate this example, TWA provided the following: A plant designed at 1.0 MGD should process 200mg/L BOD and 20mg/L and it can remove 1668 lbs/day of BOD and 166 lbs of ammonia. However, if the plant only operates at 0.35 mg/L with an average of 150mg/L and 15mg/L, then it’s only processing 437 lbs/day of BOD and 44 lbs/day of ammonia.
The leachate will keep the organisms at the WWTP eating at a slow rate by maintaining an even flow at all times.