A Narrow Escape: How NClear Helped the Villa Rica WWTP

In the early morning hours of June 1, 2016, the West Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in Villa Rica, Georgia, narrowly escaped financial and environmental disaster when a pipe broke and leaked 235,000 gallons of highly concentrated sludge back to the head of the plant. This caused phosphorus levels in the main basin to jump up to 75 mg/L from the typical measurement of less than 1 mg/L. Ammonia levels were also extremely high, and alkalinity and pH dropped severely. These levels would have caused the WWTP to violate its discharge permit, likely for several months, causing nutrient-laden water to be released into the Little Tallapoosa River watershed. To understand what problems that could cause, just look what is happening with Florida’s toxic algae problem today.

This disaster was avoided, however, thanks to NClear, Inc (NCI). Pete Zorbanos, the Villa Rica Public Works Director, made a call to NCI for help because he knew that the chemicals the plant had on site could not handle a problem of this magnitude. NCI’s non-toxic synthetic minerals, NClear™ crystals, are designed to sequester phosphorus from water and sludge, while also balancing pH and alkalinity, and were the ideal solution. Within hours, NCI’s team was on site and began jar testing to determine the basin chemistry and devise an emergency treatment plan. The team quickly mobilized and began feeding NClear™ crystals into the clarifier influent at 7:00 p.m. The NClear™ crystals quickly reduced the phosphorus in the clarifiers, filters, and effluent discharge. The Return Activated Sludge (RAS) from the clarifiers (containing NClear™) returned to the head of the plant where the NClear™ crystals increased pH and alkalinity and reduced the amount of ammonia and phosphorus by approximately half every day. With the help of NClear™, the Villa Rica West WWTP was back to normal operation after only six days. Without NClear™, the plant would likely have been out of compliance and would have incurred significant fines, expenses, and ongoing alternative chemical costs.

Villa Rica WWTP’s Superintendent, David Henson, says, “With traditional chemical treatments, we are confident that we would have lost the plant. Losing the biologicals would have set us back [for] months. I was extremely impressed with how well the NClear product worked, and with the support we received from the company.”

Review our case study to learn more about our work with the Villa Rica West WWTP. Whether you are faced with a similar crisis, or you have ongoing conditioning needs, our NClear™ crystals can help! Contact us today to learn more!