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New projects in the works for White Slough water treatment plant

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Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013 12:00 am

A 100-acre plant south of Flag City, with miles of sewage pipelines and tanks of sludge and waste, is no one’s idea of a tourist destination. But without it, no one in Lodi could take a shower, flush their toilet or even wash the dishes without finding a place for all that wastewater.

It’s the White Slough Pollution Control Center, and it’s responsible for cleaning 5 million gallons of grey water each day for the city of Lodi.

“The whole place is just a marvel of engineering,” said Larry Parlin, deputy Public Works director.

But with a round-the-clock cleaning cycle and an ever-increasing supply of soiled water, the plant needs frequent maintenance and upgrades.

Last week, the Lodi City Council approved $300,000 in repairs and upgrades to the plant’s main building, including an expansion of the women’s locker room. When the plant was created in the ‘60s, treating wastewater was mostly a men’s industry. But now six women work there daily, and they need more space.

The planning and design phase will begin in a matter of weeks, and construction will begin in January.

In the works are more projects to find a use for all the water, gases and solids the plant produces.

One idea is to install two micro-turbines to convert methane gas into electricity. The power would be used on-site. The project could cost $1 million.

Another plan is to find a way to store the water that is released into the Delta during the winter, when there are no crops to irrigate. Later this year, a study will begin to find out what it would take to install that storage.

New projects in the works for White Slough water treatment plant
Fine debris particles sink to the bottom of a holding tank at the White Slough Pollution Control Center on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Sara Jane Pohlman/News-Sentinel

In October, the new five-year water discharge permit from the California Water Resources Control Board will be renewed.

Right now, workers at the plant are cleaning out a 35-foot-tall anaerobic digester. It’s one of four used to break down the sludge sifter out of the water. They are also working on replacing a rotating screen to filter out large debris.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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