Waste·water n: Water that has been used for domestic or industrial purposes.
Waste·water treat·ment n: Physical, chemical and biological processes used to remove pollutants from wastewater before discharging it into a water body.
Water·shed n: An area of land that drains to its lowest point.
Protecting our waterways is our mission. A big portion of that mission is the collection and treatment of wastewater before it is released back into our local waterways. For Jefferson County and Oldham County, wastewater treatment occurs at our Water Quality Treatment Centers (WQTCs).
Jefferson County contains 790 miles of streams, 130 miles of improved channels and 38 miles of Ohio River shoreline—all of which are part of the following watersheds:
· Beargrass Creek-Middle Fork
· Beargrass Creek-Muddy Fork
· Beargrass Creek-South Fork
· Cedar Creek
· Floyds Fork
· Goose Creek
· Harrods Creek
· Mill Creek
· Ohio River
· Pennsylvania Run
· Pond Creek
About 153 million gallons of wastewater is treated, and then released back into our local waterways every day. Each of Jefferson County’s watersheds is unique, and the environmental standards are different for each watershed.
Trash that has made its way into the sewer system, such as plastic bottles and cups, are removed—we’ve even found bowling balls. Some of our biggest problems are caused by flushed dental floss and “flushable wipes.” Please do not flush anything except human waste and toilet paper.*
Solids and liquids are separated in a tank. While liquids remain on top, solids settle to the bottom where micro-organisms help them decompose. Decomposed, treated waste is then removed and made into fertilizer at the Morris Forman WQTC.
The water is filtered to remove any remaining inorganic compounds, suspended solids and trace amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus.
Wastewater is disinfected and released into the receiving waterbody.
Water Quality Treatment Centers
Louisville is home to five WQTCs. Each is unique and helps provide our community with safe, clean waterways and a healthy environment.
Cedar Creek WQTC
On a daily basis, the Cedar Creek WQTC receives an average of 6 million gallons of wastewater. At this WQTC, wastewater goes through all steps of the treatment process, including UV disinfection, before being released into Cedar Creek.
Derek R. Guthrie WQTC
This facility treats an average of 50 million gallons of wastewater per day. Wastewater here goes through all steps of the treatment process, including sodium hypochlorite disinfection, before being released into the Ohio River.
Floyds Fork WQTC
This facility receives an average of 3.5 million gallons of wastewater per day. Here, wastewater goes through all steps of the treatment process, including UV disinfection, before being released into Floyds Fork.
Hite Creek WQTC
An average of 4.4 million gallons of wastewater per day goes through all steps of the treatment process, including UV disinfection before being released into Hite Creek.
Morris Forman WQTC
This is Kentucky's largest and oldest water quality treatment center. On a normal day, it treats 100 million gallons of wastewater and up to 350 million gallons per day during storms. Here, wastewater goes through all steps of the treatment process, including chlorination and dechlorination, before being released into the Ohio River.
Morris Forman WQTC also handles the biosolid processing for all five WQTCs in Louisville Metro. Every day, this facility produces approximately 70 to 80 tons of fertilizer, which is sold and distributed as Louisville Green to fertilizer blenders and local farmers. For information, visit http://www.louisvillegreen.com/.
* “Flushable wipes” do not break down properly in the sewer system. These wipes may clog sewer pipes, potentially leading to sewer backups. In addition, they clog up and damage sewer line pumps, screens and other mechanical parts at local wastewater treatment centers. Unclogging and making minor repairs to pumps cost MSD ratepayers as much as $90,000 a year. MSD experienced clogged pumps—which workers were required to fix—two out of every three days in 2012. It is estimated that wet wipes were the cause of 60 percent of these clogs.