The Wastewater Department
The Board owns, maintains and operates two separate wastewater systems that serve the City of Sylacauga.
The main system serves the central business district, the industrial park, and the surrounding residential development. These areas are served by the J. Earl Ham Wastewater Treatment Plant , located on Shirtee Creek in the northwestern part of the city. A densely developed residential area known as Valley View is situated north of the main business district, and is served by an independent sewer collection system which drains to a pump station. The wastewater is pumped to a point, and then by gravity flows to the J. Earl Ham Treatment Plant. The second system serves the Fairmont area, located at the north corporate limit. This plant has a design capacity of .22 million gallons per day.
The wastewater collection system includes approximately 125 miles of gravity sewer lines and 9 miles of force sewer lines ranging in size from 4 to 30 inches in diameter and eight lift stations. The Utilities Board provides sanitary sewer service to 6,112 customers. The average daily flow in 2009 was 3.932 million gallons per day. The combined peak treatment capacity of the two plants is currently 5.02 million gallons per day.
In 1987 the Board completed construction of improvements to the wastewater system that cost $12,196,200. Of this amount, $6,770,260 was provided by a federal grant and the balance was financed by a combination of Bond proceeds and retained earnings. The project included the construction of the J. Earl Ham Plant, the construction of the Fairmont Plant, the upgrading of the Valley View Plant along with the rehabilitation of a number of existing sewer mains. The improvements allowed the Board to meet State and Federal wastewater discharge limits.
In recent years the Board has undertaken several wastewater system improvement projects. In late 1998 the Board began the J. Earl Ham WWTP Sludge Handling and Grit Removal project. It included the installation of a grit classifier system at the head of the plant, sand filtration, and a new two-meter belt filter press for sludge dewatering. The cost of this expansion was approximately $1.3 million. The J. Earl Ham Treatment Plant was originally designed for future expansion, to increase the treatment capacity from 2.4 million gallons up to 4.8 million gallons. This upgrade was completed in 2004.
154 acres of land was purchased by the Utilities Board in 2003 to accommodate land application of biosolids generated by the wastewater treatment process. All wasterwater treatment processes are monitored and regulated by ADEM and EPA.