Water Plant Opens New plant processes 6 million gallons per day
Mitch Freeman Madison County Record
Although Madison's new wastewater treatment plant has been in operation since Feb. 14, it officially opened April 21. Madison Water Board personnel celebrated the event with a ribbon cutting and plant tours.
According to Bernard "Whitey" Bressette, Madison water board general manager, the new plant is capable of processing up to 6,000,000 gallons of wastewater per day.
The plant was built to support a projected "build out" population of 50,000, according to Bressette.
However, if Madison's growth exceeds the projection, there is plenty of room for plant expansion. The plant sits on 57 acres owned by the city of Madison, located about one-half mile from the Tennessee River at 701 Landess Circle, off Wall Triana, near the Triana and Collier communities. Processed wastewater is diffused into the river.
Bressette said that the cost of operating the plant is minimized because automation steps have been taken.
Bressette explained that as long as wastewater processing stays below a threshold of 5,000,000 gallons per day, the plant can be monitored offsite by one of the plant operators.
The operator on call can monitor the plant via a laptop computer that can be remotely connected to plant operation system.
In addition to the laptop, the offsite operator is automatically alerted in the event human attention is required. In some situations, the plant can even automatically shut itself down, he added.
The four plant operators are highly trained and certified by the state. Bressette said workers must go through extensive classroom work and take a test for certification.
The Madison Wastewater Plant has three class-three plant operators that are certified to operate a plant which processes up to 6,000,000 gallons per day. One of the operators is state certified as a class-four operator and can operate a plant that processes an excess of 6,000,000 gallons per day.
Bressette said that the Madison plant "is pioneering" offsite monitoring and is influencing Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) regulations.
Another action taken by wastewater officials to offset operating costs is to sell the sludge that is left over from wastewater processing.
Madison's new treatment plant cost some $22,000,000 and took 16 months to build.
The city of Madison obtained a low-interest, 20-year government loan for design and construction of the new plant.