NOVEMBER 2016 MANAGER NOTES
What a great start to Fall! The October rains came and give us hope for a wet winter season and the replenishment of our local reservoirs and groundwater. The onslaught of rainy weather and cold weather also brings a busy time here at the Sanitary District as we prepare for high flows and river discharge.
I’m often asked why a rainy day impacts the wastewater plant. Most wastewater plants are susceptible for “I and I”, or inflows and infiltration. This occurs when rain water is directed from surface streets or properties directly into our sanitary sewer. It can also occur when groundwater finds its way into cracks or offsets in the sewer pipes. Sometimes, our typical daily flow of 250,000 gallons will turn into more than 1 million gallons in a day. All of this flow must still be treated to high standards or we risk violating our discharge permit issued by the state of California. Fortunate for us, our Operators are well trained and prepared to handle these flows and keep us in compliance.
Recently, we completed the transition of our plant process from summer time to winter time objectives. During wintertime, we are required to remove all ammonia from the effluent prior to discharge in order to protect aquatic life. This process is call nitrification and requires a different biological treatment and is more difficult to achieve. Our winter permit runs from November 1st thru April 30th each year and then we are able to modify the plant process to summer time permit limits.
We have new certifications to brag about. Josh Weatherby earned his Grade 2 Collection System Maintenance and Grade 1 Environmental Compliance Inspector certificates. Josh already possessed a Grade 3 Wastewater Operator license. Erik Hamann earned his Grade 2 Wastewater Operator license, which is a huge milestone. I am proud of each of these fellas, as they had to study a lot and complete college courses, in addition to passing a rigorous exam required by the State of California. When you see them in town, give them a big high five.
We are happy to report about this year’s School Outreach Project with the San Andreas Elementary School. As we mentioned in September, about 105 students from grades 4-6 participated in a plant tour and got to perform hands-on experiments in our laboratory and in the shop. 13 of the students were recently recognized for their Artwork that is placed in our 2017 district calendar. The theme this year is “Preserving the Watershed” and the artwork was fantastic. At our November Board of Directors meeting, the students were recognized with certificates of achievement. Because of sponsorships, we were able to present each student a District calendar to share with their families and provide lesson plan material to teachers, at minimal cost to the district. This outreach effort helps the District communicate the importance of wastewater treatment to the community and allows us to serve as technical resource to the community and our school. We thank Principal Crothers and the Teachers of San Andreas for facilitating this event.
On behalf of all the Sanitary District, we hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving season.