Wastewater Treatment Plant
The City of Lovington’s Wastewater Treatment Plant is an SBR (Sequencing Batch Reactor) activated sludge plant. It has a capacity of 2.5 MGD (Million Gallons per Day), and is currently treating .75 MGD. The plant went online in January of 2007. The head-works or pretreatment phase consists of a mechanical bar screen and grit chamber. This is where the majority of the inorganics are removed from the wastewater. There are four influent pumps which then pump the wastewater to the two SBR tanks. The biological treatment takes place in these tanks. These two tanks alternate in the aeration, mixing, and settling of the wastewater. The aeration and mixing processes is what makes this an activated sludge treatment. Aerobic micro-organisms that are naturally found in raw wastewater are given an optimum environment to remove the organics from the wastewater. The settling phase allows the old micro-organisms that have already outlived their usefulness to be wasted or removed from the process along with any organics and inorganics. These wastes are pumped to the aerobic digesters for further breakdown and thickening. The cleaner water or supernatant that is left over after settling then goes to the chlorine contact chamber for disinfection. Disinfection removes the pathogens or disease causing bacteria. This effluent is then used to water non-food crops on the farm just east of the plant, and it is also used to supplement the watering of Chaparral Park. The thickened waste or sludge from the aerobic digesters is then pumped to the screw press. The screw press is used to dewater the sludge to prepare it for composting. The sludge is mixed with woodchips, and then allowed to cook at a temperature of 130° F or higher for 14 days. After the initial cooking time, the compost is cured for at least four months to allow it to cool so that it may be used in gardens, yards, and flower beds. The compost is sold in a screened or unscreened form. The screened compost can be used in gardens and to spread on the yard. The unscreened compost can be used as mulch around trees or as a weed control when applied at a 4” or more depth.
Mike DeLaCruz is the Wastewater Superintendent for the City of Lovington. Mike has been with the City since 2002. and has been in the wastewater field for 36 years. He holds a Water III certification, a Wastewater IV certification, Compost Facility Operator's certification, and has an AAS degree in Wastewater Technology. Mike has been married since 1982 to his beautiful best friend, Irene. They have two grown children, and they love to travel.
Miguel De La Cruz, Foreman
After hours emergencies: (575) 396-2811