Wastewater Treatment Process
There are four basic stages to cleaning wastewater at the Racine Wastewater Treatment Plant:
In the first stage, wastewater enters preliminary treatment where screens and grates remove large objects, sand, gravel and other grit. These materials can collect in plant tanks reducing capacity, and are destructive to plant pumps and equipment.
In step two, primary treatment, the wastewater enters large settling tanks where we remove grease and oil after it floats to the top. Heavier material sinks to the bottom of the tank and is removed.
In secondary treatment, microscopic organisms, or "bugs", breakdown the majority of organic material that remains in the wastewater. Keeping organic material out of rivers and lakes is important because it can consume large amounts of oxygen that fish and plants need to live.
Finally, the water goes through disinfection. It's here where radiation destroys the cell’s ability to reproduce. The treated wastewater is then discharged to Lake Michigan and measured against permitted limits established by the DNR and EPA.