Fish and wildlife population loss, drinking water restrictions, a designated area of concern—all of that paints a picture of environmental degradation in the Detroit River. Much of this impact was caused by an all too common problem: combined sewer overflows. Faced with aging infrastructure, limited space, and not enough funds, the City of Windsor, Ontario, needed a unique solution. With a footprint 85% less than a conventional facility, the Windsor Riverfront High-Rate Retention Treatment Basin enhances the City’s riverfront amenities and significantly reduces the pollution entering the river.
Because of limited space and quickly changing flow rates, sewage in the RTB needed help to separate solids from the water. A polymer-based additive was the answer. The Environment Canada Wastewater Technology Centre and University of Windsor had been researching a new technique (since 1999), and we brought it to practical application.
Dosing the water was a delicate business. Add too much to the brew, and the chemicals could flow into the river, damaging fish and damaging water quality. Add too little, and untreated sewage would be discharged back into the river, not solving the original problem. We created an automated dosing system that monitors the concentration of solids as well as the flow rate.
With just the right amount of polymer, the solids are separated so the clean water can be discharged into the river. After that, the remaining solids (and stored CSO) can be sent to the treatment plant, once it’s ready to receive them. The system automatically adjusts to storm type—quick and intense or long and mild. This automated calibration and precise dosing is unique to Windsor’s RTB.
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