Meramec water quality

Work continues at Fenton WWTP

2nd stage of treatment restored at Fenton wastewater treatment plant

> For background information, view OSC’s original report here.

With repair work continuing, the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) announced Thursday, March 28th that secondary treatment has been restarted at its Fenton Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).

E.coli levels in the Meramec should return to normal once the Fenton plant is fully treating wastewater. MSD will continue monitoring activities on the Meramec until E. coli levels return to normal and the recreation advisory is removed. While there is no immediate threat to the public’s health or safety, the public is still advised to avoid contact with the Meramec River from Fenton, Missouri, to the Mississippi River.

Additional Information Highlights:

  • Following December’s floods, which overtook Fenton WWTP, untreated sewage was diverted to nearby rivers and streams between December 28, 2015 and February 12, 2016.
    • RESTORED Primary Treatment: Feb 12 – removes solids from the wastewater
    • RESTORED Secondary Treatment: March 28 – “good bacteria” eats the “bad bacteria;” accordingly, monitoring of effluent quality has begun
    • Disinfection / UV Treatment (April 1 to October 31) – based on the current assessment of the damage and time needed for repairs, it is estimated that the third and final stage of treatment (disinfection) will be brought back on-line in April. Other repairs to ensure backup systems and restore other non-critical functions of the plant will take longer.
  • The most recent MSD testing, conducted on March 16, 2016, shows increases and decreases in E. Coli levels, both upstream and downstream of the Fenton WWTP. Volume of river flow, the amount of direct sunlight on the river, recent precipitation, and other factors all impact bacterial degradation and water quality results. Accordingly, test results will fluctuate – sometimes dramatically – in one direction or the other, from week to week.
  • To date, MSD, the Department of Natural Resources, and other monitoring groups have not observed indications of a fish kill or stress to other aquatic life in the Meramec River.
  • Signs have been posted in areas where the public may readily come into contact with this section of the river. If anyone should come into contact with the river in this area, it is recommended they immediately and thoroughly wash with soap and water.

– Reported by Lysa Young-Bates