History of the Water Pollution Control Plant

The City of Marion has been a pioneer in the practice of treatment of sanitary wastewater.  The first treatment plant in Marion was in 1903; this plant was completed and placed in full operation in 1905.  Within eleven years, the City was advised by the State Department of health that the plant was inadequate and was polluting the Rock Swale Ditch.

As a result, a new plant was designed by George Gascoigne, consulting engineer, and put in service in 1924.  It was one of the few modern sewage treatment plants in Ohio where complete treatment was affected throughout the year.  This plant was modified in 1953 and by 1956 the plant was producing methane from digesters for heating of the facility and designed for 5.4 MGD.  This plant was designed to serve a population of 40,000.  The guest book at that time indicates that this modern plant was visited by individuals from all over the world.

Higher water quality standards and increased demands on the plan called for more action.  Findings and orders from the EPA mandated that the City build a new facility.  At the time, the City was under a stop build order from the EPA due to inadequate treatment.  In 1978, an activated sludge plant was put into service which increased the capacity to 10.5 MGD, with a cost of $12.5 million.  This plant was designed to take the City to 1995.

By the year 2000, the plant had passed its design replacement time frame.  Many pieces of equipment had failed and others were very maintenance intensive.  A renovation was needed to bring the facility into the twentieth century.  In 2003, an upgrade was accomplished at a cost of $23 million.  The facility uses a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) to monitor and control the major plant processes and to gather data for process control and reporting purposes.  PLC interface and radio telemetry is used for communication to lift stations.  Inner plant communication is done with fiber optics.  The Division now has a modern facility with the effective ability to collect and treat wastewater for the entire City and most of the County Industry.

A daily average of 8.5 million gallons of wastewater come from residential, commercial, and industrial discharges, included is an average of 3 million gallons of storm water per day.  The plant is regulated through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit issued by the State of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency under approval of the Federal EPA.  The water, after treatment, is discharged to the Little Scioto River.  The solids are lime stabilized and then recycles to area farmland as a fertilizer which enriches the soil.  The facility routinely removed 96% or more of the incoming organic and solid material through biological and physical treatment.

The Water Pollution Control Treatment Plant work force has approximately 30 employees, which includes plant maintenance, collection system crews, operations staff, and office personnel.  The divisions’ annual budget is over $3.3 million.