'They are unsung heroes': Water and sewage system workers help keep communities safe

May 19, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unpredictable realities, including the hoarding of toilet paper and stay-at-home orders.

But the work at Dornick Point Wastewater Treatment plant in Johnstown has remained consistent.

Cigarette butts and other solids that have been flushed down toilets are filtered out by a mechanized screen. That’s the first step in treating raw sewage as it flows through Dornick Point.


As the sewage is pumped through the sprawling plant that serves 20 municipalities, the process becomes increasingly sophisticated – culminating in sodium hypochlorite-treated effluent water exiting the plant through a drain and into the Conemaugh River.

Last month, an average of 10.8 million gallons of sewage per day – including waste from toilets, showers, kitchen sinks and washing machines – was transformed into effluent water that re-entered the environment, project manager Michael Sabo said.

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