Phosphorus removal at Ferdinand Wastewater Treatment Plant

During the January 14th Ferdinand Town Council meeting, Wastewaster Superintendent Roger Schaefer announced pending action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management requiring Ferdinand to soon begin the process of removing phosphorus at the wastewater treatment plant.

Phosphorus is a life-essential nutrient.  Most people realize phosphorus is in the fertilizers used by farmers to raise crops and by gardeners as they grow corn, beans and flowers.  What may NOT be known is that phosphorus is also used in soft drinks, cereal grains, soaps and laundry cleaners, floor strippers, dish soaps, even many vitamin supplements we use in our daily lives.

According to the adage "too much of a good thing is bad", excess phosphorus is very bad for our health and environment.  Did you realize phosphorus that goes into our lakes, streams and even the oceans, kills aquatic life through the process of Eutrophication- which is the removal of oxygen from the water supply.  According to Research News from www.ScienceDaily.com, the negative consequences of eutrophication have been apparent in freshwater habitats for a long time and phosphorus has been identified as the key nutrient responsible.  Freshwater lakes over the past few decades have been receiving continual doses of phosphorus.  However, many coastal systems are experiencing ever-increasing nitrogen loads from rapidly growing human sources.  This in turn is having a severe, negative impact on both ecosystem structure and function.  Again, for more information on phosphorus and its impact, go to www.ScienceDaily.com.

The long and short of it is this:  EPA and IDEM are going to require Ferdinand to remove phosphorus from our wastewater and it will cost ALL utility users.  The exact cost is unknown at this time.  How can we as residents keep the utility rates lower?  Try to purchase items, such as dish and laundry soaps, without phosphorus- this will require some label reading, but will be worth the effort.  Some industries have switched to phosphorus-free chemicals and stated it was the same price.

This phosphorus elimination process will require changes to be made at the wastewater treatment plant for the next few years.  If you have any questions or concerns, contact Wastewater Superintendent Roger Schaefer at (812) 367-2283.  The town thanks all residents for their cooperation in this matter.


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2065 Main Street PO Box 7
Ferdinand, IN 47532
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