By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Rincon exploring expansion of wastewater treatment plant
Tommy Kee
Wastewater Treatment Plant Director Tommy Lee describes the wastewater treatment process during a June 21 Rincon City Council workshop. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

RINCON — Even though it is tucked neatly out of sight, the City of Rincon’s wastewater treatment plant is not out of mind.

The facility, located at the end of Ackerman Road, has moved to the forefront of the Rincon City Council thoughts in recent weeks. 

“We are at about eighty percent capacity,” City Manager John Klimm said.

The wastewater treatment plant’s mission is to protect citizens, the interests of Rincon, the environment and all receiving waterways by eliminating pollutants in wastewater.

 In order to meet future needs, Wastewater Treatment Plant Director Tommy Kee has recommended doubling the size of Rincon’s wastewater treatment capacity. The cost is expected to be in the neighborhood of $9 million.

The plant last received a major upgrade in 2006.

“We have a couple million dollars that has been set aside from water rates,” Klimm said. 

The gap will need to be filled through the use of SPLOST funds and/or a low-interest Georgia Environmental Finance Authority loan.

“And we have new customers coming in who pay impact fees,” Klimm explained. 

The stormwater fee for a new residence is currently about $800, New industries have to pay much more, however.

The basic function of wastewater treatment is to speed up the natural processes by which water is purified. Kee explained how the highly technical water treatment process works during a June 21 council workshop at the plant.

Kee said wastewater and stormwater enter the sewage system and flow into plant where the solid wastes are separated from the liquid wastes through settling. At this point, they are processed and “digested,” or decomposed by bacteria.

During his presentation, the director used scientific terms like “effluent” and “post-aeration,” and not-so-scientific ones like “glob” and “brown stuff.”

“By the way, there will be a test,” Mayor Ken Lee said while joking with his fellow council members.

Kee spoke in front of table that featured beakers filled with water treated at various levels.

“There is no way that this water could sustain life in any way,” Kee said while pointing to the first one in the series.

The table also featured an example of sewage sludge and “cake,” the solid that remains after water has been removed from sludge. Cake, which is ends up in a landfill, is an essential part of producing a clean discharge of water into the environment from the treatment of human waste in large volumes.

In a lab at the plant, Kee and/or one of two staffers conducts treated wastewater tests whose results are sent regularly to state environmental officials.

Fully treated wastewater is released into local waterways where it’s used again for any number of purposes. Lost Plantation Golf Club, whose fourth hole is nestled next to the plant, uses wastewater for irrigation.