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Look after the bacteria that looks after you

This page contains information about an update on the Wastewater Treatment Plant's digestion system.
Updated: 16/07/2018 2:36 p.m.

Wastewater Treatment staff were surprised and delighted by the sympathetic, supportive statements from the public when they revealed the plant’s digestion system had been upset by a heavy dose of bleach and detergent. 

Council Waste and Drainage Manager Andrew Carvell decided to put the problem into relateable terms with the following post to facebook. 

“We have received a few complaints around odour from the main wastewater treatment plant since Christmas, but things should be better within a week or so. The plant is a giant digestion system. Much like the digestive system each of us has in our gut, it relies on bacteria to break down nutrients and produce waste that can be managed. Normally this happens quietly behind the scenes and people don't know much about it. But, just as with our own innards, if something poisonous gets into this system and wipes out the good bacteria the results can be pretty unpleasant for everyone. 

“This happened at the plant just before Christmas. A number of commercial businesses had a pre-break clean out and a huge quantity of the cleaning materials they used - bleach, disinfectant etc - washed into the sewage plant. On Christmas Eve this killed all the biological digestion processes at the plant.

“The water treatment processes recovered after a couple of weeks to a month but the sludge treatment processes were not fully recovered until a couple of weeks ago. During this time the odour from the plant was what anyone would expect from a huge, open-air gut that is feeling sick.

“The good news is that it is well into its recovery and should be much better soon.

“The situation is a reminder that what goes into the sewer system ultimately winds up in wastewater treatment plants in which living bacteria work for us all. Let’s be more thoughtful about what we flush away and the effect it can have on a system designed to deal with something we all produce.”




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