Wastewater Treatment/Collections

Wastewater Treatment & Collections

Common Q & A

What can I put down the sewer?
#1, #2, and Toilet paper, and soap if you are washing, that’s it. Nothing else! - see video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaXth88i7rk

Any chemicals put down the drain could interfere with the treatment process.  The treatment process is  biological! (There are no chemicals used in the waste water treatment plant).

What do I do if I have sewer problems?
The city waste water utility is responsible for the sewer mains all the way to the treatment plant.  Customers are responsible for the sewer Lateral to the main and the tap itself into the main.  A sewer lateral is the line that connects your sewer pipes to the sewer main (usually this is a 4" drain pipe).

If your drains are not draining and you can not clean them out yourself, then you can call the Wastewater Supervisor at  (620-224-8874) and ask that the city check the sewer main.  A crew will be dispatched to flush and inspect the city sewer main.  If the main is clear then the obstruction  is most likely in the customers lateral and they will need to hire a local plumber to fix the problem.

What causes sewer problems?

  1. If your home has an inoperable sump pump groundwater can flood your basement.
  2. Fats, oils and grease clog sewers. Meat, salad dressing, butter, cooking oils, and many other food scraps contain fatty byproducts that, when washed down a drain, quickly solidify and deposit on the inside of sewer pipes. Over time, the buildup of these fats, oils and grease can completely block a sewer line. Many of the soaps and detergents claiming to dissolve grease simply pass the problem down the pipes, clogging sewer lines in other areas.
  3. Tree roots will creep into the sewer pipe, trying to find water, and over time cause a blockage. Older houses may have clay sewer service lines, generally constructed in 4-foot segments, which are more susceptible to root intrusion than the sewer lines constructed today. The natural swelling and shrinking of soils can cause the joints between the segments to pull apart, creating an opening for roots to enter.
  4. Foreign objects (for example, a child's toy) can cause a backup.
  5. If the city's main has become clogged a backup could occur.
  6. Age of pipe material and the shifting of the ground can break pipes.

How can you help prevent sewer problems?

  1. Pour leftover cooking oils into a container for disposal in the trash or recycling
  2. Scrape fat trimmings into the trash (not the garbage disposal)
  3. Wipe grease from pots and plates with a paper towel before washing
  4. Know where the sewer line is located, and avoid planting trees or shrubs near it
  5. Periodically have the service line mechanically cleaned/root cut or pressure washed (every 3-5 years, or every year for older clay pipes) Schedule this service with your local plumber.
  6. Choose chemical root treatments that contain a foaming agent designed to expand and fill the sewer line, coming in direct contact with the roots (roots typically enter the top part of the sewer line)

What if I smell sewer odors?
All fixtures connected to the sanitary sewer system are required to have a trap that prevents sewer smell and sewer gas from entering your home or building. Sewer gasses develop as the sewage starts to decompose on it's way to the wastewater treatment plant.

If you smell any sewer odors within your home or office, make sure that none of your traps are dry. Check your basement floor drains and any fixtures that are infrequently used. If the sewer smell persists, call your local plumber. Sewer gas can be dangerous! Sewer gas and odors typically will enter through a dry trap or a broken service line under the structure. The property owner will be responsible for hiring a plumber to fix any plumbing problems within the facility or sewer service line.

How does a wastewater treatment plant work?
Follow this link for a video of a plant similar to ours: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaXth88i7rk
Just replace the Detroit river, for the Marmaton River.

Call for a tour
But better than a video, call the plant to make an appointment, we would love to give you a tour!
Call 620-215-6319 to arrange a tour.

Our waste water treatment plant consists of 5 basic areas: 1) Screening and grit removal, 2) BOD, phosphorus, ammonia, and nitrate removal 3) Clarification 4) UV disinfection 5) and solids handling. Screening and grit removal happens at the beginning of the treatment process to remove any inorganic products (trash) that cannot be broken down by bacteria. From there the raw wastewater flows into the bio-basin where bacteria break down the organic material in the water, and reduce nutrients present by the operators manipulating oxygen levels in the  various zones designed into the basin. The third step is clarification where solids are allowed to settle out and are either removed to sludge holding basins or are returned the bio-basin to provide a hungry supply of bacteria to consume the organic material in the raw incoming wastewater. The clear treated water from the clarifiers is then diverted through the ultra-violet light disinfection units and from there back to the Marmaton River, or sold as reuse water for industrial applications.  The last step in the process is solids handling. These solids are the nutrient rich by-product produced during the treatment process. They are applied to farmland owned by the City, and each year the portion of this farmland that has had solids applied to it is then rented out to local farmers.
Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the EPA sets minimum standards treated wastewater and land applied solids must meet.  We are required to test the treated water on a weekly basis and then send a report of these tests to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment every month. In the many years Fort Scott’s plant has been in operation it has met or in most cases far exceeded those standards. In fact Fort Scott’s treatment plant won an award from the Kansas Water Environment Association for the outstanding plant in its size range for maintenance and operations. Also that year, one of its operators won the William D. Hatfield award as the outstanding operator for the State of Kansas.  We are proud of our treatment plant!  Operators are required to attain certifications and must  meet continuing education requirements to maintain those certifications.