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New auger installed at City’s Waste Water Treatment Facility: Focus turns to educating the public on

After nearly four and half months the Lennox Waste Water Treatment Facility (WWTF) is back to up and running with the new auger screen in place.

Readers may recall that in August 2016 the Lennox City Council moved forward ordering parts to repair the auger at the WWTF, against the manufacturer’s recommendations and the opinion of Lennox’s Water and Sewer Superintendent Jeremy Gulbranson. That temporary fix worked just a few months, when in November 2016 the auger at the WWTF was damaged beyond repair. This unit is where all of the sewage gets pumped to, the auger filters all of the things that shouldn’t be in waste-water. With it out of commission the last four and half months, Gulbranson has been doing the dirty work by hand.

He said, “This piece of equipment exists solely because people put stuff down the sewer they shouldn’t.”

While it was out, Gulbranson would rake the bar screen by hand once a day, and although this method would catch a lot of the solid waste (shop towels, wipes, tampons, etc.) there were some things that would slip through and, Gulbranson added, that is not a good thing.

He said, “The bar screen doesn’t catch everything so we’re introducing inorganics to our basins that interfere with treatment.”

With the new auger screen put in place last Tuesday, Gulbranson is confident that things will be running smoothly again, and there’s a way that citizens in the community can help. The WWTF is something that the average citizen most likely thinks little about. But what goes down the drain—must come out and in Lennox, it all gets treated at the WWTF.

The treatment plant is unlike a pond system explains Gulbranson, there is a higher level of treatment and the City is held to a higher standard. The new auger screen has fine 1/4 inch holes that collect all the solid items. The more solid items that are going through the sewer system, the harder the auger has to work.

Gulbranson said, “Everything we throw down the drain affects that plant.”

The new auger was designed around Lennox’s WWTF flow characteristics. With the control panel Gulbranson is able to set run times and parameters. He explained, “Our main lift station collects all the water and when that kicks in the auger does it’s thing.”

With the Infiltration and Inflow (I/I) problems that plague the City of Lennox, the auger had been running when it didn’t need to. Now Gulbranson said he has five cycles and the auger will run 18 less start-ups per day using those parameters. That will save the taxpayer money and save wear and tear on the equipment.

Gulbranson said, “I fully expect to get 15 years out of this thing.”

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