How ACUA's Wastewater Treatment Facility Works

Atlantic County
Wastewater Treatment
Flow Chart

Hundreds of municipal-owned pump stations are located throughout the county in the various towns with sewer service. Wastewater from your drain, shower, toilet and washer is conveyed by gravity through underground pipes. When these pipes get too deep in the ground, pump stations are needed to lift the wastewater back up to street level, and continue to convey it through the systems.

The ACUA maintains approximately 20 strategically located pump stations throughout the county. Ultimately, the wastewater from 14 municipalities is either pumped or flows by gravity to these stations. The wastewater is then pumped through large force mains to the regional wastewater treatment facility located on the outskirts of Atlantic City.

Incoming wastewater is collected from 14 municipalities using over 60 miles of force main which discharges into the 40 million gallon per day treatment facility (1). The ACUA also accepts septage, leachate and liquid sludge for processing in the plant influent. Before entering the plant, several bar screens (2) remove large solids to protect pumps and other equipment. The wastewater then enters the primary clarifiers (3) where the flow is slowed to permit solids to settle to the bottom where they are collected. Overflow from the primary clarifiers enters the aeration basins (4) where dissolved solids are digested. All wastewater then enters the secondary clarifiers (5) from which 85% to 95% of the pollutants have been removed. The treated effluent is then disinfected(6).




The effluent pumping station (7) discharges the clean effluent wastewater to the Atlantic Ocean via the ocean outfall pipe and diffuser system. Solids collected from the clarifiers are thickened in the primary sludge thickener (8) and the waste activated sludge centrifuge (9). The combination of thickened products is then homogenized in the blend conditioning tank (10). This sludge is then pumped to several high speed centrifuges (11) where it is further dewatered. All sludge is conveyed for final disposal in the multiple hearth incinerator (12). The residue from the incinerator process is trucked to a landfill (13). This non-hazardous inert ash represents about 10% by volume of all sludge entering the facility.

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