JASPER WATERWORKS & SEWER BOARD
RECLAMATION AND AGRICULTURAL COMPLEX
The Jasper Waterworks & Sewer Board (hereinafter "Board") owns and operates the Laye-Williams Water Treatment Plant and the Town Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, which provide potable water and wastewater treatment to residents and commercial/industrial customers of the City of Jasper and Walker County. Each treatment process produces recycled byproducts which are processed in an environmentally safe, conscious and beneficial manner at the Reclamation and Agricultural Complex, a 140 acre site located off Hay Valley Road in Walker County. The facility is owned and operated by the Board and is currently used for hay production and grazing.
A recycled by-product of the water treatment process is alum sludge, also known as hydrosolids. Hydrosolids are produced at the water treatment plant thorough the use of non-toxic aluminum-based chemicals, known as coagulants, which are mixed with the raw water as part of the water treatment process. After these coagulants have bound with a variety of trace impurities found in the raw water, they are removed by settling, taking the impurities with them resulting in clean water.
Hydrosolids are mostly water and aluminum and also contain a variety of trace amounts of metals, suspended solids, organic chemicals, and biological particles. These alum-rich water treatment residuals bind with phosphorus in biosolids, manures, and soils, reducing the solubility of phosphorus. Because of this, alum residuals are recognized as a useful tool in controlling phosphorus run-off that can be damaging to surface waters, especially in areas where excess phosphorous is already impairing the health of lakes and streams.
A recycled by-product of the wastewater treatment process is biosolids, or nutrient-rich organic matter. Biosolids are produced at the wastewater treatment plant thorough the use of aerobic digestion, sludge drying beds and a dewatering screw press.
Biosolids, when treated and processed, can be applied as fertilizer to improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth. Nutrients found in biosolids, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and trace elements such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, sulfur and zinc, are necessary for crop production and growth.
Both hydrosolids and biosolids are land applied at the Reclamation and Agricultural Complex. All biosolids applied at the Reclamation and Agricultural Complex meet EPA requirements for Class B biosolids, meaning that they have been treated to significantly reduce pathogens to a level which makes them safe for land application. The Board is currently investigating treatment processes to produce Class A biosolids, in which pathogens have been reduced to virtually non-detectable levels, and may be land applied without restriction as fertilizer on farms and vegetable gardens. Class A biosolids can also be sold to home owners as compost or fertilizer.
Hydrosolids applied at the Reclamation and Agricultural Complex are combined with Class B biosolids, combining the nutrient rich organic material in the biosolids with the beneficial effect of phosphorous run-off control in hydrosolids.
In 2015, the Board land applied forty-eight (48) dry tons of hydrosolids and thirty (30) dry tons of Class B biosolids at the Reclamation and Agricultural Complex and has plans to increase those amounts in 2016. The Reclamation and Agricultural Complex represents a progressive, environmentally and economically sound approach to managing material which in the past was considered an expensive and unavoidable liability.