Wastewater Plant At High Levels After Rain But Handling It Well

By: Jessica Cunnington Email
By: Jessica Cunnington Email

June 10, 2013

Levels of water are high at Moore's Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Charlottesville after a week of heavy rain.

But the staff there says they can handle the millions of gallons of water that flow through reasonably.

The Moses family knows better than most about how rain used to affect the plant since they live right across from it.

"If it was heavy and it rained all day and all night, it would be flooded. Without a doubt," said Jessica Moses, who has lived on Franklin Street right near the plant her whole life.

But in the past five years the plant has put about $45 million into the facility.

"Six to eight million of those dollars we put in to make sure we had enough tanks and large enough pipes in this facility so when we have a lot of rain like we have the past few days that we can handle all that water and treat it well and contain it," said Tom Frederick, the executive director of Rivanna Solid Waste Authority.

The past week of heavy rainfall has created some high levels in the tanks but it's nothing they can't handle.

"If we were to have a phenomenal storm like a category five hurricane, I would be concerned whether or not it'd be sufficient," Frederick said.

"On a normal day we would see about 10 million gallons of waste water coming into the plant," said Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager Gary Philips. "But during a storm event we could see as much as 50 million gallons per day."

Even with five times the amount of water flowing through, it doesn't change any part of the process.

"While there is a lot of water passing through these tanks at the present time, you can see it's been properly handled and treated," Frederick said.

"Five years ago it was pretty bad. But since they put it in, it's been a lot better no flooding, no nothing," said Moses who says now when it rains hard, they can actually get through their street.

The plant is prepared to hold 85 million gallons of water but they don't expect to surpass that number.


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