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Treatment Plant Operator - The Decision Maker: How La Plata Plant Became an Award-Winner

02.15.2016    /    Clipping
The team at the La Plata Wastewater Treatment Plant conquers upgrades and operational challenges with ingenuity and dedication.


Heavy runoff caused sanitary sewer overflows  in the Town of La Plata, Maryland. At the La Plata Wastewater Reclamation Facility, high influxes of clear water washed away much of the bacteria colony in the sand filters.

A 2001 U.S. EPA mandate to update the treatment plant to biological nutrient removal didn’t include what was really needed — additional equalization tanks. Frequent SSOs, which began in 1988, forced the town into a 2005 consent decree with the state Department of the Environment to reduce inflow and infiltration. Other consent orders followed. Under the Chesapeake Bay 2000 Agreement, the plant also faced compliance with enhanced nutrient removal standards by 2010.

That was a lot to ask from a municipality with under 50 employees. To coordinate its efforts, the town created a director of operations position and in January 2008 hired Robert Stahl to fill it. Stahl oversees the water, wastewater and stormwater utilities and manages the Public Works, Roads and Streets, and Parks departments.

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