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Wastewater Treatment


The Wastewater Treatment Plant consists of the following personnel:

  • Superintendent (1)
  • Waste Water Lead Operator (1)
  • Operator/Maintenance (2)

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 3.0 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 twice per year.

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. The City of Buchanan Wastewater Treatment plant meets all limits set by the permit.

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 6 lift stations.

The plant consists of the following treatment units:

  1. Influent channel w/solids comminution
  2. Grit removal
  3. Primary settling tanks (3)
  4. Aeration tanks (2)
  5. Secondary settling tanks (2)
  6. Up-flow clarifier (1)
  7. Sludge thickening tank (1)
  8. Anaerobic digester (1)
  9. Sludge drying beds (9)

The City of Buchanan recently added another major piece of equipment at the wastewater plant in the form of a 350KW generator. The generator shall allow the plant to continue meeting all permit limits during any power outages.