Wastewater Treatment Plant
After years of continual degradation by growing urban populations, the Auglaize River has just recently begun to recover its original beauty. Today, the portion of the Auglaize near Wapakoneta is nearly as fertile a fishing ground as two centuries ago, and provides residents with other recreational opportunities as well, including boating and water skiing.
The recovery of the Auglaize River, though, has hardly been accidental. Dedicated City officials worked for more than a decade to ensure that wastes from Wapakoneta residents and businesses are properly treated before merging with the river.
Wapakoneta’s forefathers built the City’s first wastewater treatment plant in 1936 and improved it to greater capacity and better treatment capability in 1952. Since then, the federal government passed the Clean Water Act of 1972, requiring all surface waters in the United States to be fishable and swimmable by 1985. In addition, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created to regulate pollution sources and enforce the Clean Water Act. The offer of 75 to 85 percent federal funding for planning, design and construction of publicly-owned wastewater works was the impetus for Wapakoneta officials to initiate steps leading to modernization and expansion of the City’s wastewater treatment plant, and other sewer system improvements.
Following nearly a decade of planning and design, ground was broken and construction begun on major improvements to the Wapakoneta wastewater treatment plant in 1982. Just two years later, the new facilities became fully operational. In addition to expanded wastewater flow capacity, the plant features the latest technologies for providing advanced secondary level treatment of wastewater, including removal of phosphorous and nitrogen which are polluting nutrients.
Funding for the construction of the plant improvements was shared by the City of Wapakoneta and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Two-thirds of the construction was eligible for 75 percent federal funding, with the other third eligible for 85 percent federal funding under the EPA Innovative and Alternative Technology Program. The city’s share amounted to approximately $2.2 million of the $10.3 million required to construct the plant improvements. City officials are proud that the newly modernized plant will be able to meet Wapakoneta’s needs for the next several decades, and that they are helping to fulfill the goal of clean water for future generations of Americans.