What is a Water Reclamation Plant?
What is a water reclamation plant? Water reclamation is a modern term for how we deal with an age old problem: What to do with the stuff we flush? More recently, we must examine how we do this without destroying the environment.
For many years, people thought the solution to pollution is dilution, so we dumped our waste into the nearest stream, river or lake. This wasn't too bad at first when it was just people and farm animals contribution to the waste. Then the Industrial Revolution came to pass. The steel and textile mills and other manufacturing plants started to spring up discharging their wastes into our waterways. In a matter of decades, it became clear that the waterways needed to be protected after a river in Cleveland, Ohio, actually caught fire and burned for days. In 1948 the Federal Water Pollution Control Act was voted into law. While this made things a little better, there still needed to be better controls in place and the Clean Water Act (CWA) was enacted in 1972.
The Clean Water Act provided the basis for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program, and with it the basic structure for regulating the discharge of pollutants from "point sources"* to waters of the United States. Section 402 of the CWA specifically required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and implement the NPDES program.
The City of Pickerington maintains a current NPDES permit for the water reclamation plant. The staff works to ensure that what flows from the plant is clean to protect our local and surrounding waters and meets the limits set out in the NPDES permit.
*Point sources are pipes or ditches that can be readily identified entering a waterway. Conversely, a "non-point source" is when chemical run-off from fields and parking lots enter a waterway.