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Wastewater plants in Lafayette and West Lafayette have been hit hard with the recent rainfall

Plant workers are turning to an alternative method to get waste levels back to normal.

Posted: Jun 4, 2019 5:26 PM
Updated: Jun 4, 2019 8:51 PM

GREATER LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Lafayette and West Lafayette's wastewater treatment plants have nearly reached capacity, thanks to all the recent rainfall.

“Several communities throughout the state, due to all the extensive rains that we have had, have impacted Land Application,” said VanAllen with the West Lafayette Water Treatment Plant.

According to VanAllen, Land Application is a process where the treatment plant workers take the solid waste and inject it into farmland. Farmers use it as fertilizer to help grow their crops.

“It's beneficial to the farmer because they don't pay for this,” said VanAllen. “We do pay to have it hauled and put onsite.”

The excessive rain now has the treatment plants paying in other ways, workers are using a new machine to help soak up some moisture and it's called The Belt Press.

“Solids will get pumped into this machine and a polymer chemical is added with that, it's basically a thickening agent and runs through machine and it's a press so it will help squeeze out additional water,” said VanAllen.

This machine can be costly, VanAllen said they look at is as a last resort.

“Standard Land Application is around five-cents a gallon, with this, we're just shy of nine-cents a gallon,” said VanAllen.

West Lafayette plans on processing about half-a-million gallons. Both cities are undergoing projects to find new ways of processing rainfall and city waste.

VanAllen said wastewater ratepayers will not see an impact on their bills. Treatment plant leaders plan to adjust their spending budget for the year to balance the Belt Press cost.

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