Monthly Archives: May 2020

How to Calculate Cost and Financing for a New Wastewater Treatment Plant

Water pollution is a key concern throughout the U.S. While many homes have septic systems installed for wastewater, homes nearer a city are often on sewers. All of the wastewater from pumped out septic systems or sewers goes to a wastewater treatment plant where it’s cleaned to remove bacteria that can spread disease. At that point, it can be returned to public water sources or into holding tanks where it goes back to homes and businesses.

If your municipality needs a new wastewater treatment plant, there are a lot of things you have to consider. Money is one of your primary concerns. If the system is too expensive, the taxpayers in your municipality may be unable to afford the increased taxes. If you cut corners, you risk having an ineffective system that’s prone to breaking down or failing to meet the capacity of wastewater that comes in each day.

You must understand how to calculate the cost and financing for a new wastewater treatment plant. You have to be honest about how much the system will cost, what the federal government will contribute, and why the cost is necessary. Here are the steps to calculating the cost and coming up with financing for a new wastewater treatment system.

Calculate the Size of the System That’s Needed

Several factors go into the size of the water treatment system you need. Is the water treatment system solely processing water that comes in from sewer lines? Or, are you also having a waste receiving system for trucks to bring in the sludge and fluids pumped from residential or business septic tanks? How many homes and businesses are in the district? You need to have an idea of how much wastewater would come into the plant each day.

The Raptor Complete Plant merges grit collection and screening into one unit, which can save room. However, it may not suit your needs. It can handle up to 4 million gallons per day. If the people in your municipality exceed this, you could run into problems. Per the EPA, an average family of four uses around 400 gallons per day. In a city where the popular is well over 10,000 people, this system may not be enough. This is why it’s important to look at your current population and how quickly the population is expanding. If you have businesses that are also adding to the wastewater totals, you need to factor in how much water they’d send into the sewers each day.

Decide What Wastewater Equipment is Needed

Once you have a general idea of what the plant’s capacity needs to be, you need to consider the design and structure. A wastewater treatment system covers three levels: primary, secondary, and advanced treatments. The equipment chosen to handle each level of water treatment must fit in the space you have and do the job at a level that meets federal, state, and local requirements. If the water being released back into the environment still carries pollutants, it can harm the ecosystem, animals, and even humans.

The primary stage involves the removal of suspended solids. Secondary treatment removes pollutants and finishes the removal of suspended solids. The advanced stage removes pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus that are by-products of the other stages. Some systems only do the first two stages and don’t focus as much on advanced treatments, but changes to laws do occur. It’s better to come up with a comprehensive system that covers every treatment stage rather than omit and have to hurriedly add equipment years later. What type of equipment will you need?

  • Screw Pumps: Water treatment systems have the screw pumps that push water into the water treatment plant and move it from one stage to the next. There are open and closed screw pumps. Open screw pumps do not require much maintenance or a wet well and are very efficient. Enclosed screw pumps can reduce installation costs and offer a drop-in replacement.
  • Screens and Screen Rakes: Screens trap some debris before it moves to other pieces of equipment. Screen rakes clear that debris to ensure wastewater continues to flow. Screens can trap some of the items that don’t biodegrade easily, such as sanitation products, toys that are accidentally flushed by children, and paper towels.
  • Grit Collection: A grit collection system removes grit like sand that can cause abrasion, which damages equipment over time. Grit collection can also boost aeration and oxygen helps break down some bacteria.
  • Clarification and Filtration: Clarification and filtration systems stir the wastewater in order to help separate fluids from solids. Solids settle and can be removed.
  • Biological Treatment: The advanced stage of water filtration is the removal of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus that can cause serious problems in bodies of water like a lake. Those nutrients can cause algae blooms that threaten humans, animals, and fish.

Is There Financial Aid Available?

In the 1970s, the Clean Water Act found the federal government chipping grants that covered 75% of the installation cost for a new water treatment plant. The state helped with the rest. That program switched to a revolving loan program in the 1980s that partnered with federal grants of up to 55% This applied to municipal water treatment plants. Private ones or those that were part of an industrial setting were paid for by the business or landowner. Again, this changed in 2014 with the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA).

Through the WIFIA, eligible wastewater infrastructure projects are eligible for financial assistance through low-interest loans that can be paired with grants to cover the cost of a water treatment plant. WIFIA can cover up to 49% of a project’s cost, and federal assistance can bring the total to 80% of the project’s eligible costs. WIFIA loans are fixed-interest loans that remain the same for the life of the loan, even if some of the money is disbursed later on. The borrower’s credit or the structure of the loan doesn’t lead to higher interest rates. Deferred payments, customized payment schedules, and loan periods of up to 35 years all make the loan easier to manage.

Lakeside Equipment works with you to price, design, and install a new wastewater treatment system. Our team includes engineers, field technicians, and support personnel who help you with each stage of the planning, design, and installation. It’s our goal to set up a system that’s built to last and within your financial goals. It’s time to have a wastewater treatment plant that serves your community’s needs. Call 1-630-837-5640 to talk to our specialists.