City Begins Full Usage of New Recycled Water Plant

Release Date: 

The City of Hermiston is now discharging much higher quality water from its new Recycled Water Plant than it did through its old wastewater treatment plant.  The City fully switched the community’s sewage flow over to the new plant on October 1, and the resulting increase in discharge quality is crystal clear.


Total Suspended Solids (TSS) in the City’s discharge averaged 14 Parts Per Million (PPM) in August, and so far TSS levels are nearly 20 times lower through the new system, at just 0.7 PPM.  Ammonia levels have also plummeted from 16.1 PPM in August, to less than 1.0 PPM, and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) has fallen to 1.0 PPM, from an average of 18.0 in August.


“The goal of this Class A recycled water that we’re discharging now is to be virtually indistinguishable from drinking water,” said William Schmittle, Recycled Water Plant Superintendent.


The reason for the dramatic increase in discharge quality is the new Membrane Bioreactor (MBR), which is part of a $17.2 million upgrade to the Recycled Water Plant.  Construction at the plant is scheduled to be complete in November.


The cost of the plant upgrade is being paid for through an increase to sewer rates, which began to take effect in phases on January 1, 2014, and will be complete on July 1, 2015.  The final rate on July 1, 2015 will be $23.56 per month for residential customers.  An independent analysis conducted by Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc., released in June, surveyed 51 cities in Oregon, and 70 cities in Washington, to identify water and sewer rates charged in 2013.  Hermiston’s rate which will go in to effect on July 1, 2015 will rank it as the 4th most affordable compared to the 2013 rates of the other 121 Northwest cities.  A link to the Raftelis analysis can be found on the City of Hermiston website HERE


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