LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — A pump, bottom left, pumps biosolids out of one of two aeration basins Wednesday afternoon at the Natchez Wastewater Treatment Plant. The four aerators currently in place in the basin will be removed for diffusers to be installed along the bottom of the basin.

City to invest in waste to tune of $1M

Published 12:07am Friday, September 28, 2012

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez is making $1 million in improvements to the Natchez Wastewater Treatment Plant in an effort to save money in the long run.

City Engineer and Natchez Water Works Superintendent David Gardner said the city is replacing the large fans in the plant’s concrete aeration basins.

Gardner said the fans are “energy hogs” and will be replaced by tubes that will aerate the waste but use less energy.

“(The tubes) will do the same thing as the fans but use a fraction of the electricity,” he said.

The tubes, Gardner said, will inject fine oxygen bubbles into the waste material to promote the growth of bacteria that will eat away at the solid waste.

With the replacement of the aeration fans, Gardner said the city is hoping to save approximately 30 percent on energy costs for the plant.

The improvements, which also include installing more energy efficient motors on other equipment, are being funded by an approximately $1 million loan through the Department of Environmental Quality’s revolving loan fund program, Gardner said.

The loan is being offset by approximately $272,000 in stimulus funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Gardner said the $1 million in improvements to the wastewater treatment plant is an investment.

“The cost to Natchez Water Works will more than pay for itself through energy savings,” Gardner said.