On March 2, 1909 the public voted on a bond proposition to build waterworks and sewer systems. The bond was passed and began the construction. The original Wastewater Treatment Plant was built in 1966 with a cost of about $160,000. Until then, raw sewage was being released into the Little Nemaha River. The original plant was damaged by several floods over the years, so the BPW completed flood proofing the Wastewater Treatment Plant above the 500 year flood elevation in 2001. Currently the BPW maintains 27.7 miles of sewer lines.
Last year, BPW built a new Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is currently online and treating water. Prior to that, the process for treatment we had, did not meet the requirements of our discharge permit set by Federal and State Regulations. During the summer of 2009, we failed two ammonia levels in our discharge and our sludge process is marginal in meeting Land Application Rules, requiring the BPW to move forward into building a new treatment facility using some of the existing equipment. The new Wastewater Treatment Plant consists of two aeration basins, a bio-solid pretreatment and storage tank, the headworks building, disinfection basins, two final clarifiers, four reed beds (to eliminate land applying sludge) and the control building. This plant allows us to have the ability to take one of the aeration basins out of service in the event of equipment failure or maintenance. The plant has more than doubled it’s capacity and will discharge much cleaner water to the Nemaha River.
Additionally, BPW completed a new sewer line from the Wastewater Treatment Plant to 6th and N Streets, then south to 14th & Q Streets. This section of the line is overloaded and in very poor condition which allows groundwater to infiltrate into the sewer line which increases treatment costs. The new sewer line will allow for increased sewer flows from the west edge of the community where the town is seeing some growth and development. The new main was also routed to serve some existing houses that were on septic tank systems, so they can now hook up to city sewer and their septic systems can be removed.