Page 5 - Elements-Spring2013
P. 5
elements SPRING 2013

Cincinnati Nature Center’s new
natural wastewater treatment system
serves as an educational tool for
visitors and hikers of all ages.


The Cincinnati Nature Center The Ohio EPA was understandably to municipal treatment plant standards as
hosts more than 100,000 visitors a year. skeptical and cautious when the required by the OEPA,” said Matt Gramza,
Its Rowe Woods site is located roughly 20 Cincinnati Nature Center in Milford, CEC’s project manager responsible for all
miles east of Cincinnati and spans 1,025 Ohio, selected a low-energy, permitting and design of the wastewater
acres (including 65 acres of old growth low-maintenance, innovative collection system and site. “It isn’t a
forest) with more than 16 miles of hiking glorifi ed septic system; it will treat the
trails. With no available connection to system featuring newly-patented water for surface discharge into a stream
public sewers, the Center must perform Algaewheel technology for its on on a nature preserve. There is absolutely no
wastewater treatment on site. They had site wastewater treatment. shortcutting of water quality.” Completed
been exhausting valuable time and in 2011, it was the fi rst on-site surface
resources on the maintenance of two discharging wastewater treatment plant
separate and failing 40-year-old subsurface featuring Algaewheel tech nology permitted
wastewater treatment plants whose capacity and built in Ohio.
had long since been outgrown. Jason The goal for the project was minimal
Brownknight, Director of Conservation and disturbance to both the natural environment
Stewardship, began a lengthy investigation and center operations. The centralized
before arriving at a new environmentally- system’s 0.25-acre footprint also was
sustainable solution that would be in line designed to allow new facilities to connect
with one of the Center’s primary values: directly without additional footprint
stewardship of the land. requirements, saving plenty of space for
The Center initiated talks of implementation Algaewheels grow algae in a controlled future projects. “CEC also was able to off er
with the Algaewheel’s creator and soon environment. In turn, algae produce oxygen, fi eld assessment and provide an on-site
learned that an Ohio-licensed engineer which bacteria in the system use to convert geotechnical expert during excavations,”
would be needed. Brownknight was familiar wastewater organics into carbon dioxide. said Brownknight. “They off ered a lot of
with CEC due to previous investigations additional benefi ts, and it really worked in
into fi rms with wastewater and site in Ohio. “We were impressed,” said our favor.”
engineering expertise. When the Center Brownknight. “The fact that CEC was familiar Surface discharge tests for ammonia and
approached CEC to manage the project for with the technology made us feel that much carbonaceous biological oxygen demand
the entirely new sanitary sewer system and more comfortable working with them.” (CBOD) are showing water quality results
wastewater treatment plant, they learned To help the Center obtain its permits, CEC much better than limits required by the
that CEC already had been working with the diligently met with the OEPA early and often OEPA. Brownknight added that the system
Algaewheel inventors to identify a project to explain the technology. “This plant treats has consistently maintained levels well
opportunity to implement the technology wastewater to a fi nal effl uent quality equal below OEPA requirements. ■
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