New Bremen's Wastewater Treatment Plant was constructed in 1986 and is a biological treatment facility that processes both domestic and industrial waste. It utilizes a natural biodegradation of organic, nitrogen, phosphorous, and other compounds in an aerated lagoon system. On the average day about 650,000 gallons of wastewater is processed through the Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is pictured below. Wastewater is delivered to the Plant through a series of approximately 13 miles of sewer lines. The wastewater is then processed through two lagoons, a rock filter bed and a chlorine contact tank.
The lagoons serve as the primary treatment of the wastewater. The first lagoon is the largest, holding 13 million gallons of water at normal operating levels. The second lagoon holds 9.5 million gallons. The lagoon system is fairly basic. It takes advantage of the helpful aerobic bacteria that Mother Nature provides and gives it a place to thrive. This bacterium is found naturally in organic waste. However, for the bacteria to thrive, and multiply to levels where most of the organic waste can be reduced, oxygen needs to be present. These bacteria need about one pound of oxygen to reduce one pound of organic waste. This is known as biochemical oxygen demand or BOD. It is a measure of the oxygen requirements of the bacteria to reduce the organic waste. It is also an indicator of the strength of the waste. If oxygen is not present the lagoon water would go septic and anaerobic bacteria would be created that could lead to the formation of gases and odors. Consequently, large volumes of air are injected into the water to provide the oxygen for the bacteria. This makes an ideal environment for aerobic bacteria to grow and multiply. The water is their home, the organic waste is their food and the oxygen keeps them well and healthy.
Within wastewater, organic waste comes in many different sizes and forms. Some of the waste is in the form of dissolved BOD. This BOD is part of the water in the sense that it is dissolved into the water and cannot be readily seen. This kind of waste stays suspended and is treated by the aerobic bacteria in the lagoons. However, a large portion of the organic waste is in a form called suspended solids. The smaller in size that the solid particle is, the longer it will stay suspended in the water column allowing it to be reduced by the aerobic bacteria. However, the larger suspended solids settle to the bottom of the lagoons. As the suspended solids settle to the bottom of the lagoons, a sludge is formed. As the sludge collects, there is a lack of dissolved oxygen that results in the creation of anaerobic bacteria, as mentioned earlier.
Anaerobic decomposition is a much slower process than aerobic. Aerobic bacteria have the advantage of free available oxygen to aid in the decomposition. Anaerobic bacteria need to break down chemical compounds containing oxygen in order to obtain the necessary oxygen. There are basically two steps in the anaerobic breakdown of organic waste. First, the organic waste is decomposed into an acid. The acid is then decomposed into a gas. The main byproducts of the second stage are methane, carbon dioxide and water, as well as hydrogen sulfide and other inert gases. Since this process is occurring on the bottom of the lagoons, the gases have to pass through the aerated water column. This allows the aerobic bacteria and the oxygen to break down the gases so that there is little that escapes into the air.
Since the anaerobic process is a slower process, the rate of accumulation of sludge on the bottom of the lagoons is faster than the decomposition rate of the anaerobic bacteria, resulting in an ever-growing sludge blanket. Over a period of years the sludge blanket will accumulate to several feet deep which takes up space in the lagoons and begins to hinder the aerobic treatment process. Consequently, it is necessary to periodically dredge the lagoons. The material that is removed can be applied to farm land, disposed of in a landfill or incinerated. The most common disposal method is the land application of the material which provides the soil with nutrients. For more information on the land application of sludge, please visit the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Division of Surface Water's web page on land application at http://chagrin.epa.ohio.gov/programs/sludge/1.html .
After the second lagoon the wastewater enters a rock filter bed. The primary purpose of the rock filter is the removal of the algae that grows, and at times blooms, in the second lagoon. A related benefit of the rock filter is the biomass that forms on the rock. This biomass house a beneficial bacteria colony that further reduce the organic and ammonia waste that may still be in the water after leaving the lagoons.
After passing through the rock filter the wastewater enters the chlorine contact tank. The water is tested for fecal coliform bacteria. If the fecal coliform count is unacceptable, an appropriate amount of chlorine is injected into the water to kill the fecal coliform bacteria.
Finally, 30-45 days after entering the Wastewater Treatment Plant, the treated water is released into the Weirth Ditch.
New Bremen's Wastewater Superintendent is Dave Goodwin. He is a graduate of New Bremen High School. Goodwin holds a Class II Wastewater Operator License, Class I Water Operator License and a Class II Water Distribution License from Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. He has been with the village since 1982 and was appointed Wastewater Superintendent in 2012.
321R North Walnut Street
P.O. Box 27
New Bremen, OH 45869-0027
Monday - Friday; 7:00 am - 3:30 pm.
Dave Goodwin, Superintendent