Photo GalleryTreatment Plant

Everything flows downhill to the Treatment Plant.

The District processes wastewater from a service area that inlcudes Cañon City, Lincoln Park, Florence and 13 state and federal prisons at the Rainbow Park Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant treats an average of 4.5 million gallons of wastewater every day.

The wastewater enters the plant through a 32 inch pipe at the Headworks Building.

Bar ScreenThe first step is to remove trash from the wastewater. Candy wrappers, banana peels, anything larger than ¼ inch are removed by the bar screen.

Then the wastewater is tested as it comes into the plant. This is called influent which is the untreated water. It is tested to determine the ratio of bacteria and oxygen needed.

Aeration BasinThe next step is to transport the wastewater up through the Screw Pumps to the Aeration Basins. The Aeration Basins are large tanks where we grow naturally occurring bacteria to break down the waste material. It is stirred up to allow oxygen to mix with the waste and bacteria. In order to keep a healthy plant, we must keep a delicate balance of wastewater, temperature, bacteria and oxygen. The bacteria we use come from recycling the bacteria that grow and reproduce in the Aeration Basins. The bacteria consumes the waste by a process of reproduction. The young and strong bacteria are lighter in weight and hungry for waste. The older bacteria have had their fill and are slower and heavier and sink to the bottom.

The older bacteria sink to the bottom of a large tank called the Clarifier.

ClarifierClearer water rises to the top of the Clarifier. The top one inch of water is skimmed off the surface. Then the clarified water is passed through an Ultraviolet Light. The wave length emitted by the Ultraviolet Light alters the DNA of the pathogens of the remaining bacteria in the water and renders them sterile so that they cannot reproduce. If they cannot reproduce, they are not a threat to our health or the environment.

The layer of water underneath the clarified water contains the young and hungry bacteria. They are sent back to the Aeration Basins to break down more waste.

DigesterThe older bacteria or sludge that have sunk to the bottom of the Clarifier are sent to the Digesters to starve. The starved bacteria release much of their mass as gases which reduce their size.

Once they are stabilized, they are sent to a Centrifuge. Here a polymer is injected into the material that helps the waste material bond together more efficiently and helps us separate the stabilized material from the remaining water. Here it is spun. When the material enters the Centrifuge, it is about 1% solids and 99% water.

Once it is spun, the stabilized material is about 17% solids and only 83% water. The solid waste is then moved to a dump truck and is taken off site to a concrete slab where it is evenly distributed. There the remaining water is allowed to evaporate until there is about 75% solid. Then it is taken to the end of the line, a landfill.

After the wastewater has been treated, it is tested again to be certain it is within acceptable limits to maintain public safety and within the guidelines of the National Pollutant Discharge & Elimination System (NPDES).