The city's plant uses UV lights to neutralize any pathogens and contaminants before liquids are discharged into the river. While these UV lights are supposed to operate about 50 percent of the time, the lights now operate 100 percent of the time, due to the low transmissivity levels in the liquid that passes through the system.
"The lower the transmissivity the more stuff you have in there, the more suspended solids, the harder it is to treat," said Peter Nourse, Public Works Director. "We see this being improved with the RO system."
With an RO system to be put in place for treatment of leachate, there will be higher levels of transmissivity, the easier it is for light to travel through the liquid, and the easier it is for UV lights to disinfect the water.
Additionally, Nourse said that RO technology also typically results in lower nitrogen levels, and this is promising because half of the nitrogen that passes through the treatment plant comes from Waste Management. "It could be significant, we're hoping for the best," he said.
If the implementation of RO means lower amounts of nitrogen coming into the wastewater treatment plant, it would mean the city would have an easier time meeting the upcoming EPA permit for total nitrogen, which is expected to be stringent.
The new RO system is expected to begin operating around June.