Kentucky has developed a wastewater treatment plant optimization program. This will help facilities lower their nutrient levels in their effluent and may also help lower their utility bills. Programs like these are going on in other states around the US including Tennessee and Minnesota. Find out more about what optimization is: Optimize Your Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Nutrients from Kentucky are contributing to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, also known as Gulf Hypoxia. Optimization is one way that Kentucky Division of Water is working with the EPA to decrease the amount of nutrients reaching the Gulf. Kentucky is working together with other states through the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force. Visit Kentucky's Nutrient Reduction Strategy page to find out other ways that Kentucky is working to reduce our nutrient impact.
Some wastewater facilities will be required to optimize in their discharge permit. If your facility has been notified through its KPDES permit that you must conduct a nutrient reduction optimization, you will be invited to attend a meeting to talk about optimization and what that means at your facility. You should complete a nutrient reduction evaluation during your next permit cycle so you will have time to weigh your options for how your facility would meet nutrient targets. It is a permit requirement to complete a nutrient reduction evaluation, but who completes that audit is flexible.
An energy audit may also provide information about ways to save energy and money at your facility while still meeting permit limits. An energy audit may be available to you at no charge. Email Paulette.Akers@ky.gov for information about receiving an energy audit.
If you are interested in doing a self-assessment for optimization, the American Water Works Association published Self Assessment for WWTP Optimization or you can view Optimizing Nutrient Reduction in Small Wastewater Treatment Plants, a presentation from EPA.