About Our Water
Maintenance of the wastewater collection system includes emergency repairs, system washing, root cutting, TV inspection, and manhole repairs. There are approximately 140 miles of sewer main lines in the collection system. Personnel are required to be state-certified to operate the collection system and must take regular coursework to maintain certification. Many harmful materials, such as grease, petroleum products, antifreeze, plastic bags, and other pollutants, find a way into the collection system. These items often will block sewer flows causing the flow to back into residences. It is the responsibility of all users to protect the system from abuse.
The Treatment Process
Currently, about 4.5 million gallons of wastewater per day is pumped through the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The first treatment is removal of heavier materials at the grit station. Next the water flows to oxidation ditches where microorganisms in the water are flooded with air, enabling them to grow and begin the process of digesting organic pollutants and ammonia. Microorganisms and solids are separated from water in the clarifiers. The water is disinfected by ultraviolet light and discharged to the Laramie River. A percentage of the microoganisms and solids are recycled to the oxidation ditches. This is called return activated sludge. The rest of the microorganisms and solids are pumped to digesters. This is called waste activated sludge. The digesters provide more aeration and time for microorganisms to work on the solids. Water is then decanted off the top of the digesters and returned to the beginning of the process. The solids are pumped to belt pressers and then placed on drying beds. Several times per year the dried solids (now called biosolids) are taken to the Monolith Ranch for land application.
Plant Operator Certifications & Recognitions
All of the operators are state-certified wastewater treatment plant operators and continue to attend classes relevant to plant operation. In 2001, the plant received an Operations and Maintenance Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and in 2002 Karla Adami received an award from the Wyoming Water Quality & Pollution Control Association. Additional services provided by plant operators include treatment and disposal of septic tank wastes, garage sump wastes, and restaurant grease.
Maintenance of the water transmission and distribution system includes emergency repairs, fire hydrant maintenance and repair, valve maintenance and repair, and other similar tasks over the many miles of distribution lines, some dating back to the late 1800s. Each service line has a meter for water usage registration. Meters are read and billed monthly since the completion of the meter replacement program. Water meter installation, testing, and maintenance are part of the water distribution system operation as is the installation, testing, and repair of backflow devices. Personnel are required to be state-certified to operate the transmission and distribution system and must take regular coursework to maintain certification.
Learn more about Laramie's various water sources.
Mainline distribution repairs amount to one-seventh of the annual operation / maintenance budget because mainline failures on our system exceed three times the national and regional average. This excessive failure rate results from corrosive soils and an aging system. The City has a replacement program that budgets $300,000 per year. Read a brief synopsis of the City's Water and Wastewater Rate Study to learn more about Laramie's infrastructure needs and concerns.