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Sewer Treatment

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Welcome to the Lock Haven WasteWater Treatment Plant Home Page. For after-hours non-emergencies regarding water, call the Communications Center at (570) 748-2936.  To arrange plant tours call (570) 893-5920.

Service Area- the Lock Haven Plant treats wastewater from approximately 20,000 waste customers located throughout Lock Haven, Castanea, Mill Hall, Woodward and Lamar Townships. Waste sources from these areas include industrial, household, laundries, restaurants, hospital, and car washes. The Waste (sewage) is carried to the plant through sewer lines from the service areas which all converge into the main collection line entering the plant. From here the pumps lift the sewage 25-ft into the primary treatment processing units.

In addition, due to the surplus plant capacity, the plant treats hauled in septic and holding tank sewage waste. Since Hauled wastes are out of the plant design area they will be accepted only while surplus capacity exists.

Waste Source Types- All wastes are not equal. In terms of waste strength one gallon of septic tank waste is roughly equivalent to 30 gallons of household waste. Industrial waste varies widely in waste strength and can be up to several hundred times the strength of household waste. The percentage of total waste load received from the significant customer types is as follows:

  • · Hauled in Waste    13.6 %
  • · Household Waste 70.4 %
  • · Industrial Waste     16 %

Plant Capacity- Conventional wastewater treatment plants have hydraulic (flow volume) and waste strength design criteria. The Lock Haven Treatment Facility is designed for an average daily sewage flow of 3.75 million gallons containing a waste strength of 6,500 lbs. of BOD5. It presently processes an average daily waste flow of 2.4 million gallons containing 4,400 lbs. of BOD5.

Sewer Fees- Rate schedules are available from the City Water Office or the City Engineer or by clicking here.

Plant Performance- the Lock Haven Plant is designed to remove carbon-based pollutants contained in the sewage. Carbon source pollutant entering the Lock Haven Plant is measured at 4,400 lbs./day by a test called the 5 day (Biological Oxygen Demand) BOD. The 5 day BOD test indicates the environmental impact (the removal of oxygen) of carbon waste on the receiving stream. If the 4,400 pounds of waste entering the Lock Haven Plant daily were left untreated it would remove or consume 4,400 pounds of oxygen from stream or river into which it is discharged. Our present treatment process removes on average 94% of the 4,400 pounds of carbon waste received daily.

Some reduction of nutrient wastes or pollutants, including total nitrogen and phosphate contained in the sewage, occurs only passively using our current treatment processing system. The regulatory agencies have completed a study of nutrient source loads on the Susquehanna River Basin and it’s tributaries. Nutrient reductions required at waste treatment plants that will restore the aquatic environment have been determined. As part of a strategy to reduce nutrient load, limits for total nitrogen and phosphate have been set for all wastewater treatment plants on the Susquehanna River Basin having a design flow over .4 million gallons. The nutrient limits will go into effect in 2010.

The imposed nutrient limits will require upgrade of the Lock Haven Treatment Plant. Presently various process modifications/additions which reduce nutrients are being considered.

5-Day Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)-BOD is an analytical procedure to determine the amount of oxygen used when bacteria metabolize a specific waste. The procedure steps are roughly outlined below.

  1. Distilled water at 20 degrees centigrade is saturated with Oxygen.
  2. The oxygen content of 300 ml of distilled water at 20 degrees centigrade is measured.
  3. A measured volume of the waste being analyzed is injected into the 300-ml bottle. If the waste is industrial a source containing seed bacteria must be added.
  4. The bottle(s) containing the waste is incubated at 20 degrees centigrade for five days.
  5. At the end of 5 days the bottles are removed from the incubator and the oxygen content is measured. The amount of oxygen consumed reflects the potential impact of the waste on the stream. The more oxygen consumed the greater will be the environmental impact.

Using the results of oxygen measurement oxygen consumption for any volume (amount) of waste can be calculated. Hence we can determine by testing waste entering the plant that 2.4 million gallons will consume 4,400 pounds of oxygen.

Carbon Waste is the amalgamation of substances in the sewage including protean, sugars, starches, fats etc. Most of the carbon waste is metabolized after 5 days of incubation when running the BOD5 analysis. To obtain the total oxygen demand of a waste the BOD5 is extended to 15 days to obtain the results of a BOD20. The oxygen demand after five days is mostly due to the oxidation-reduction of ammonia.

We are pleased to announce a new program to further enhance our city services to residents. We have entered into a new agreement with Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA), a HomeServe Company, a leading provider of home repair solutions, to provide optional repair service plans to our resident homeowners.

City of Lock Haven homeowners can learn more about these optional plans and SLWA by visiting or calling toll-free 1-866-922-9006.