In the early 1990’s the Town of Louisburg was struggling to comply with newly adopted State and Federal Regulations regarding the treatment of wastewater. The plant and system that had served Louisburg throughout the early 1900’s had become insufficient to meet the demands of the EPA and sound stewardship of the Tar River, our discharge point.
After being cited by State regulators, the Louisburg Town Council was ordered to take remediative actions to bring the plant into compliance. Failure to comply with this Special Order of Consent or the continued violation of State and Federal Regulations could have resulted in criminal penalties upon the Town Council and Town Staff as well as untold monetary civil fines which would have dramatically affected tax rates!
A significant economic impact was also imposed such that a complete development moratorium was imposed unless a new facility was constructed. To illustrate the importance of this development restriction, consider that all development, residential, commercial, industrial, and service oriented would have been completely restricted. Wal-Mart, Burger King, Wendy’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dairy Queen, Rite-Aid, Walgreen’s, CVS, Andy’s, Bojangles, El Perico, El Matidor, Louisburg Elementary School, Terrell Lane Middle School and many other current businesses and institutions would not have been able to build in Louisburg under the moratorium!
The Louisburg Town Council committed to build a state-of-the-art facility that would exceed all existing and expected future regulations while being exponentially more energy efficient and with tremendous cost savings due to the elimination of chemical dependent disinfection. Governmental finance agencies in the State of North Carolina which oversee major building efforts in small municipalities, authorized the project and related funding in excess of $6.2 million and stipulated that all debt service (loan repayments) had to originate from a new wastewater rate structure, in essence, requiring that sewer rates had to be increased to cover the cost of the new facility.
The Town of Louisburg is a significant player in this effort to assure the continued high quality of waters in the Tar River. These efforts center around the state-of-the-art wastewater treatment technology utilized at the Louisburg Water Reclamation Facility. This process removes the primary culprits which lead to water quality degradation: phosphorous and nitrogen levels in the water. These chemical elements within the water significant impact the biological oxygen demand (BOD) in the river which reduces the needed oxygen to support aquatic life.
The Louisburg Water Reclamation Facility, at the time of construction in 1993, was a state of the art wastewater treatment system. The system was based on a technology originating in Denmark called the BioDenipho process. This process uses time phased oxidation ditch technology to biologically remove nitrogen and phosphorus, which are the main nutrients of concern for discharge into the Tar River and the Tar Pamlico Basin. An interesting technical explanation of the BioDenipho process utilized in Louisburg can be found at the Kruger website. Because the process biologically removes these nutrients, there is no need for the addition of chemicals into the system to achieve Louisburg’s nutrient removal goals. This lack of chemical use has resulted in an annual savings of approximately $80,000 compared to the more conventional wastewater system built in 1958 which preceded the current system.
The oxidation ditch technology uses a combination of mixing and aeration to achieve nutrient removal. Because the mixing and aeration are operated in timed phases based on dissolved oxygen parameters, aeration and mixing equipment do not operate simultaneously. This type of equipment operation allowed the Town to save approximately 60% in electrical energy cost compared to the previous system.
Since 1993, operation of the new Louisburg system has shown a great resistance to unexpected shock loads from incoming Town wastewater and extreme weather conditions. This resistance has allowed easier operation on system staff to maintain system compliance with State of North Carolina and Federal Environmental Protection Agency rules and regulations. The system has shown its ability to handle all situations at all times, good or bad and maintain required compliance.
The Louisburg system produces a quality effluent, which is clear and odorless. To the human eye the effluent discharge leaving the system looks much like water that runs from a typical household faucet. Ultraviolet Disinfection is used to significantly reduce pathogens before discharge to the Tar River. The use of this disinfection system eliminates the cost of chlorine to disinfect before discharge. The quality of the system effluent discharge meets all water quality standards and permit parameters for the State of North Carolina. In essence the Louisburg system effluent is cleaner than the water already flowing in the Tar River and creates no environmental hazards to its surroundings.
During the process of treating wastewater, a byproduct is created know as biosolids. The Louisburg system uses an aerobic digestion process to generate a biosolid for use on farm land, creating a growing effect much like the fertilizers used by farmers today. Once processed, these biosolids are surface land applied on farm land for the production of hay crops for livestock consumption. This program is regulated by the State of North Carolina and has been a huge benefit to local farmers for many years. This also shows a great example of how waste can be treated, processed and recycled back into the environment with no harmful effects.
The Louisburg system is in operation 24 hours a day 7 days a week to serve our public wastewater treatment needs. System checks and operations are conducted 365 days a year. The system is also monitored constantly with SCADA technology and on call personnel. The system is operated by a dedicated staff of 5 consisting of 2 system operators, 1 laboratory technician, 1 maintenance technician and 1 operator in responsible charge. All operators at the plant are State of North Carolina certified and attend required continued education classes annually. This group of operators is dedicated to the Louisburg system and the protection of our community environment.
The Louisburg Water Reclamation Facility is open on a limited basis to provide tours of the facility to schools and those in biological studies. While our staff is limited, we will make every effort to schedule an operational tour of the facility on a first come – first serve schedule. Please note that availability of such tours may be affected by weather, operation process limitations, and State and Federal regulations. Please contact Mr. Jimmy Ellington, Facility Supt., at 919-496-2677 to schedule tours