Green Scene: Making green changes at sewer plant

The first phase of the project is complete. Eddington and Mike Holland, the assistant manager and engineer at the sanitary district, said the next phase of construction will take place in 2017.

Today, 80 percent of the sewage is treated with trickling filters. This method is among the oldest in water treatment technologies, and will be considered outdated by 2017. The process has worked well for many years and is low-cost, but in the months of March and April, the ammonia levels can get very high. In 2017, the limits for ammonia will be cut in half, and the sanitary district will not be able to meet these limits using this older technology.

The second phase of the renovation project will include eliminating the trickling filters and using a process called activated sludge. Twenty percent of wastewater is currently treated this way at the DeKalb Sanitary District. By 2017, they will be treating 100 percent of wastewater by activated sludge. This phase of the project will cost $40 million over the next 10 years.

The public is invited to an open house at noon on Friday, Oct. 18, to see the new changes at the district. For more information, visit

Green Scene is written by Renee Kopulos and Linda Yates, members of a citizens group working with the City of DeKalb Citizens Environmental Commission. Contact them at, with “Green Scene” in the subject line. The Citizens Environmental Commission next meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St., DeKalb.

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