MEETING ‘MOMO’ – Wastewater Department Tour with Bradley E. Fix who is the Superintendent

We use a lot of water and make a lot of wastewater every day. Perhaps we don’t know where the wastewater goes and how the wastewater becomes clean. When I visited the Wastewater Department plant, I learned the history of how and why the plant was built and how the people do their job.

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Plans for a wastewater treatment plant were considered for Shelbyville over one hundred years ago. The City was violating Chapter 214, Acts of 1943 of the Stream Pollution Control Law. Before building facilities, the discharge of untreated sewage and industrial waste directly into Blue River produced adverse effects on fish life and public health. On September 14, 1953, the Stream Pollution Control board of the State of Indiana ordered the City of Shelbyville to construct adequate sewage and industrial wastewater treatment facilities. Planning for original plant started in April 1954. On October 10, 1958, contracts were signed with three contractors for the construction of the wastewater treatment plant and sanitary extensions. Work began immediately and the project was completed late in September 1960. The project was financed in the amount of $2,350,000. The 1960 census showed Shelbyville with a population of 14,317 and the average daily flow at the plant was 1.3 MGD. This plant was designed for an average flow of 2.76 MGD. In 1986, plants were started on a 5.5 million-dollar plant expansion. Construction began in February 1987, and was substantially completed in July 1988. Four million dollars was used on the plant and the one and a half million dollars was used for sewers on the north side of town. The expansion was just PhaseⅠof two-part construction plan. PhaseⅡof  the construction project began in October, 1999 was completed in November 2001. This construction was expansion to upgrade the plant to 8.0 MGD with peak capacity of 16.0 MGD. They still have another plan to expand the plant.

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The wastewater enters the plant from two main pumping stations. One pump station handles the flow from the north side of the Big Blue River, including the Northridge Industrial Park. The other station is located on Conrey Street. All domestic and industrial wastewater from south of Big Blue River flows through this pumping station before entering the plant. Before entering this pump station, the wastewater may come from over eighty-five miles of sewers and seven other smaller lift stations.

Wastewater from houses, companies, schools, shops and other facilities go through sewers under the ground to wastewater the plant. Some pump stations help wastewater to go to the plant, but most of the wastewater goes by gravity. Before coming to the plant, solids are crashed into smaller pieces as possible.

Wastewater is pumped up from under the ground when it comes to the plant. At the first settling basin, wastewater flows very slowly. Heavier solids are going down to the bottom. In the biological reaction tank, solids including microscopic organisms are put in to the wastewater and mixed with air. This makes microscopic organisms to attach to the solids in wastewater. This helps the microscopic organisms get heavy and easier to settle to the bottom. At the last settling basin, wastewater flows very slowly again. This allows the solids, including microscopic organisms settle down, and the solids and clear water are separated. The clear water is then disinfected and goes to the river.

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The Treatment Plant has 4 locations were samples are taken every two hours for testing the water every day. Shelly Higdon, Lab Technician got The IWEA (Indiana Water Environment Association) Laboratory Excellence Award of 2012. This award recognizes those laboratories that demonstrate a high level of commitment, outstanding achievement in the implementation of laboratory technique, laboratory practice, administration, and date reporting. And Shelbyville Wastewater Treatment Plant got S.I.O.A 2012 Class IV Plant of the Year. This award is based on environmental regulation compliance maintenance, cleanliness, and participation in the association.

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Without the wastewater plant, we can’t live the quality of life we live today. Our life wouldn’t work. Wastewater would spill over cities and it would go to the river and the sea. The air in cities would be foul, and many infectious diseases would be prevalent. During the Industrial Revolution in Paris and London, infectious diseases like cholera and pest were prevalent because many people were gathered in the cities and wastewater spilled over. To solve these problems, the modern sewer systems were created.

They also check and maintain the sewage lines throughout the city. A lot like when you go to get a check up at the hospital or a procedure done. Such as an endoscope. This is what they do to televise the sewer lines. They use a special camera and find cracks or damages.

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Water is circulated. Then it evaporates from the river and the sea. The water comes back in the form of rain and snow. Bradley E. Fix, the Superintendent of Wastewater Department said “We all use the same water and it circulates many times. The same water we use in Shelbyville is also used in Japan it just takes a long time to get there. So we should make wastewater clean and should not throw wastewater away not only for our city but also for the earth.” I think this idea is very interesting. We are connected through the flow of water all over the world!



シェルビービルに下水処理場を作る計画は100年以上前に始まりました。市は1943年の決議の水流汚染管理法214章を違反していました。下水処理施設ができる以前は、未処理の下水や産業排水は全て川(Blue River)へ流されていて、川に生息する生き物や人々の健康に悪影響を及ぼしていました。1953年9月14日、インディアナ州の水流汚染管理局はシェルビービル市に法的に十分な下水処理施設を建設する事を要求しました。一番初めの施設の計画は1954年4月に始まりました。1958年10月10日、下水処理施設と公衆衛生の拡張について3つの請負業者の間で契約が結ばれました。すぐに取り掛かりが始まり、プロジェクトは1960年の9月には完了しました。このプロジェクトには235万ドル(約2.3憶円)もの資金が調達されました。1960年の人口調査ではシェルビービルの人口は14,317人で、処理場に流れてくる平均水量は130万ガロン(1ガロン=約3.7リットル)でした。この処理場は平均水量276万ガロンとして設計されていました。1986年、550万ドル(約5.5憶)の資金で施設の拡張の計画が始まりました。工事は1987年2月に始まり、1988年7月に完成しました。400万ドルは施設の拡張に使われ、150万ドルは市の北側の下水道に使われました。この拡張は2つの工事計画の第1段階で、工事の第二段階は1999年10月に始まり、2001年11月に完成しました。この工事で最大1600万ガロンの処理が可能になりました。しかしまだ終わりではなく、さらに拡張する計画もあります。











  1. Andy Yoshida says:

    This is very good report for not only to know how our water is treated by the city but also to understand how important our water is. I learned a lot by this report.

    • Momoco Shiosaka says:

      Thank you, Andy. I’m glad to see your comment! We tend to think of a lot of things as ordinary. But many people are supporting to keep our quality of life good! I appreciate to be given the opportunity learning about City.

What are your thoughts?