Black River - Waste Water Treatment Plant

The Black River Wastewater Plant treats wastewater from the Lorain area as well as Sheffield Lake. It is located on the east bank at the mouth of the Black River, and is the older of two wastewater plants in Lorain. Construction began in the mid 1950s with the installation of sanitary sewers and a siphon chamber under the Black River. The present site was once open water of Lake Erie. Steel piling was driven, the area pumped out, and then filled to create the existing site. The original plant was approximately half it’s current size. It was originally designed as a primary treatment plant only. Sewage was settled in two primary tanks and the clear water or “effluent” was then discharged into Lake Erie. Sludge that was produced was thickened through a vacuum filter and buried.

In the early 1970’s the plant was expanded to add secondary treatment to the process. The primary effluent was then sent through a second biological or “activated sludge” process to further clean the effluent. Disinfection was also added to kill bacteria. A chlorination system was installed which treated the discharge water before returning it to Lake Erie. An incinerator was also added to dispose of the sludge produced during this period. The sludge was burned and the resulting ash was landfilled. By 1979 the price of fuel oil and the air pollution regulations made operating the incinerator impractical.

Today the average flow treated is in excess of 12MGD (Million Gallons per Day). The plant has a design flow of 15MGD and has exceeded 35MGD during rain events due to infiltration and leaks in the sewer system. The sludge produced goes through a "Digestion Process" to reduce pathogen bacteria and produce methane gas. This methane gas is used in the plant process to reduce heat and energy costs. After the digestion process the sludge is thickened through a 2meter belt press where the majority of the water is removed. The resulting cake, or (biosolids), are disposed of on farmland as a "class B sludge." The effluent and biosolids are tested daily by our own Laboratory personell. This assures compliance with the permit to operate issued by the Ohio EPA.