"It’s all good to go," Stanley Mize, wastewater treatment operations manager for Gainesville, said.
There are a few bugs, literally, that need to be taken care of before the new facility starts operating, Mize said. Right now, public utilities employees are installing the biological seed material, or "bugs," in the new Linwood facility. The "bugs" are the bacteria that eat the waste in the plant.
Mize said it would take three days to haul the equivalent of 150,000 gallons of the bacteria in tankers across town from the Flat Creek wastewater treatment facility to the new Linwood facility.
The new facility is bigger and better than the current Linwood plant, Mize said.
"There’s a big difference," Mize said.
It will have about the same treatment requirements as the Flat Creek wastewater treatment plant, which recently received national recognition for its environmentally friendly practices.
The new facility has a treatment system that uses a technology similar to ones used in drinking water filtration, and it will be able to remove most of the harmful nutrients in the water, such as phosphorous and nitrogen, Mize said.
The current Linwood facility does not remove phosphorous from wastewater at all, Mize said, but the new facility will reduce phosphorous levels below the Lake Lanier discharge standards. The current requirement for wastewater discharge is 0.13 milligrams of phosphorous per liter of water. Mize said the new Linwood will release less phosphorous than that.
The new Linwood facility, which services the northern area of Gainesville, will have twice as much capacity as the current Linwood facility, and is designed to treat 5 million gallons of waste per day, Mize said.
During the construction, the old Linwood plant has been fully functional, but by Monday its services will no longer be needed. Once the transition is made from old to new, the department will begin the demolition of the old facility.
The project, which was completed in two phases, cost the city $55 million. Mize said the public utilities department paid for the new facility with money from the capital improvement plan, which includes sewer revenues and state revolving fund loans among other things.