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Wastewater Treatment

The City of Buchanan built one of the first wastewater treatment plants on the St. Joseph River in 1938. The plant was designated a primary treatment plant, meaning it provided primary settling, with removal of approximately 40% of all solids.

Federal regulations required the city to increase removals in 1968, therefore the city expanded the plant to include secondary treatment. The current Buchanan Wastewater Treatment Plant is a conventional activated sludge process with phosphorous and ammonia nitrogen removal. The plant is designed to remove 90% of the carbonaceous organic materials, suspended solids, total phosphorous and ammonia nitrogen.

The plant was designed for a population of 15,000. The maximum design flow is 3.75 million gallons per day, with an average design flow of 1.5 million gallons per day. The plant is presently treating an average of 1.0 million gallons per day. Once the wastewater has received complete treatment, the water is chlorinated to remove bacteria, and de-chlorinated prior to discharge to the St. Joseph River.

The solids removed during treatment are dried on the sludge drying beds, stock piled, and hauled to the Southwest Berrien County Landfill anually.

The City of Buchanan Wastewater Treatment Plant operates under a National Pollutant Discharge Permit # MI0022489 issued by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, as required by the U.S EPA. 

Industrial Pretreatment Program:

The City of Buchanan adopted an Industrial Pretreatment Program on December 3, 1984. The program was mandated for all wastewater plants with flows of 1.0 MGD or more. The program consists of monitoring of all industrial discharges listed in CFR 40 or which may discharge constituents that may cause a problem in the system or inhibit treatment of the wastewater.

Lift Stations:

Plant personnel also monitor and perform maintenance on 7 lift stations.

The plant consists of the following treatment units:

  1. Influent channel with metering
  2. Pretreatment grit removal
  3. Pretreatment rag removal
  4. Aeration tanks (2)
  5. Secondary settling tanks (2)
  6. Up-flow clarifier (1)
  7. Sludge thickening tank (1)
  8. Primary and secondary anaerobic digesters
  9. Sludge drying beds (10)
  10. UV disinfection system


Including Water & Sewer Maintenance & Operations, rates and plant reserve funds

Wastewater Treatment Plant Staff

The Wastewater Treatment Plant consists of the following personnel:

  • Superintendent (1)
  • Laboratory Technician (1)
  • Operator/Maintenance (2)


Left to Right:  James Pearman, Andy Warner, Terry Burns and Bill Housand
Left to Right: James Pearman, Andy Warner, Terry Burns and Bill Housand


James has worked for the City for almost two years. His primary responsibilities are the operation and maintenance of the WWTP. He currently possesses D and C municipal wastewater certifications from the State of Michigan.

Andy has worked for the City for almost two years. Andy oversees the operation of the lab and administers the industrial pretreatment program at the WWTP. He currently possesses an industrial stormwater certification from the State of Michigan.

Terry has worked for the City for six months. His time is split between the Water and Wastewater departments, with most of his time being spent on maintenance or operations.

Bill has worked for the City for almost ten years. His current position as the WWTP Superintendent entails overseeing the daily operation of the Wastewater department. Bill is also the backup operator for the Water Department. He currently possesses an industrial stormwater certification, A,B,C and D municipal wastewater certifications and S4,S3,S2,D4,D3 and D2 municipal drinking water certifications from the State of Michigan.


Contact WWTP Superintendent, Bill Housand at whousand@cityofbuchanan.com.