Public wastewater systems must demonstrate that their water meets health based standards by periodically monitoring for the presence of specific contaminants.
Approved analytical methods must be used when analyzing water samples to meet federal monitoring requirements or to demonstrate compliance with drinking water regulations. EPA reviews and approves methods that can be used.
Laboratories that analyze these compliance samples must be certified by EPA or the State. EPA carries out a program to ensure that laboratories are certified as qualified to conduct analyses on drinking water samples.
The Fond du Lac Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility has a laboratory which analyzes wastewater and solids samples using state-of-the-art equipment. The data which is generated from this testing is used to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment plant, ensure compliance with the City of Fond du Lac Sewer Use Ordinance and evaluate the health of Lake Winnebago.
The operation of the complex plant processes requires monitoring and testing on a continuous basis. The plant laboratory is used for testing the quality of the water as it passes through each plant process and the sludge quality as is passes through the solids handling process. Laboratory data is also used to assure compliance with stringent regulatory requirements for discharge of the treated water and recycling of biosolids.
The laboratory of the Fond du Lac Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility is certified by the State of Wisconsin and follows all guidelines as required by the Wisconsin Laboratory Certification & Registration Program. Our lab has received accreditation for the following:
Biochemical Oxygen Demand
Ammonia as Nitrogen
Total Suspended Solids
Biochemical oxygen determination measures the amount of oxygen required by aerobic microorganisms to decompose the organic matter in a sample of water, such as that polluted by sewage. It is used as a measure of the degree of water pollution. This is the measure of how much oxygen in the water will be required to finish digesting h\the organic material left in the effluent. Ideally, the BOD would be zero.
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) is one of the most common measures of pollutant organic material in water. BOD indicates the amount of organic matter present in water. Therefore, a low BOD is an indicator of good quality water, while a high BOD indicates polluted water. Dissolved oxygen (DO) is consumed by bacteria when large amounts of organic matter from sewage or other discharges are present in the water. DO is the actual amount of oxygen available in dissolved form in the water. When the DO drops below a certain level, the life forms in that water are unable to continue at a normal rate. The decrease in the oxygen supply in the water has a negative effect on the fish and other aquatic life. Fish kills and an invasion and growth of certain types of weeds can cause dramatic changes in a stream or other body of water. Energy is derived from the oxidation process. BOD specifies the strength of sewage. In sewage treatment, to say that the BOD has been reduced from 500 to 50 indicates that there has been a 90 percent reduction.
Nitrogen is an essential ingredient in the formation of proteins for cell growth. From complex organisms like animals to the simple bacteria used to treat wastes in an activated sludge treatment facility, every living thing needs some form of nitrogen to survive.
But too much nitrogen freely available in the environment can be a bad thing. Excess nitrogen discharged into our waterways can contribute to the gradual change of water bodies into marshes, meadows, and forests. It can also contribute to massive algae blooms leading to oxygen depletion in water and its associated problems. Certain forms of nitrogen can cause specific problems too. Ammonia is toxic to fish, and nitrates at high enough dosages in the drinking water cause illness in infants
In the wastewater field we are concerned with several forms of nitrogen: ammonia, organic, nitrate, and nitrite. Under the right conditions, each of these forms is biologically convertible to one of the other forms. This creates certain challenges in the treatment of nitrogen in wastewater. Because of these challenges, it is important to properly collect, preserve, and analyze samples for the specific forms of nitrogen so that the appropriate treatment of these wastes can be made.
Total Phosphorus is the total concentration of phosphorus found in the wastewater.
Phosphorus is a nutrient and acts as a fertilizer, increasing the growth of plant life. Phosphorus comes from several sources: human wastes, animal wastes, industrial wastes, and human disturbance of the land and its vegetation. Sewage from wastewater treatment plants and septic tanks is one source of phosphorus in rivers.
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp with the large registered laboratory award winners from the Fond du Lac Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility: Cathy Stepp, Richard Graham, Autumn Fisher, James Kaiser, left to right
The Fond du Lac Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility was the recipient of the 2011 Large Registered Facility Award. The Fond du Lac Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility was nominated for its excellent quality systems and quality control results. This facility discharges an average of 7 million gallons per day into Lake Winnebago and had zero deficiencies found at their last on-site evaluation.
The recognized laboratories were chosen for the award from more than 240 registered laboratories in Wisconsin.DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp presented the awards at the March Natural Resources Board meeting in Madison.
“Having high quality data to make resource management decisions is critical to the department’s mission,” Stepp said.