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‘Strange thing’ plagued city’s waste water plant
4 feet of solid sludge
Great Bend Wastewater plant

There were some issues at the Great Bend Waste Water Treatment Facility last weekend, Public Works Director Jason Cauley said, speaking to the City Council Monday night. But, all the problems have been resolved.

“Starting Thursday, our plant operators had noticed that the process building was not getting any waste to it,” he said. At that point, they started investigating to try to figure out what the problem could be. 

“They tried to back-flush it with no success,” he said. Through Friday, the staff also tried diverting other water through the system, but to no avail.

As they tried to clear the standing water to allow access to the processor, they decided to vacuum out the RAS, or return activated sludge box. It’s a concrete container that allows wastewater to go in some of the sludge returns to the treatment facility to feed the microbial organisms that breakdown the waste. 

On Saturday, “they discovered that there was about 4 feet of solid sludge in the bottom of that,” Cauley said. “That is what ended up being our problem.”

They cleaned it out and things are back to normal, he said. “We are taking photos, documenting things, because this is not something that happens very often,” he said. 

“It’s just one of those strange incidences that happen,” he said. “I will say that one of my operators who has worked for us for about 10 years said  he’s never seen the RAS completely drained or emptied. But we’ll keep an eye on it and we know what to do in the future.”