How wastewater is cleaned: A look inside Rochester’s Water Reclamation Plant

Feb 26, 2024


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Many of us probably don’t think about it, but after we do our business, it’s not just out of sight and out of mind. 14 million gallons of wastewater are sent to Rochester’s Water Reclamation Plant- the size of 16 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Rochester’s sewage must go through a ten-step process before it is cleaned and discharged into the south fork of the Zumbro River. The waste isn’t just cleaned; it serves as a benefit to the reclamation plant and farms. Deputy Director of Public Works for the City of Rochester, Aaron Luckstein, said there is a complex process with three main parts to clean wastewater.

“All of our wastewater that is generated in the city of Rochester flows into the plant through an 84-inch pipe at the front of our plant,” he said. “The first is a mechanical process where we use a screen to screen out much of the garbage and debris that ends up in the wastewater,” Luckstein said.

The screen filters out any items that are larger than the size of a pea. Those items are cleaned and sorted into large dumpsters along with other substances.

“We also filter off any sand, grit, coffee, things that can damage our pumps,” he said.

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