Extending the Life of Wastewater Treatment Plants

Jun 16, 2023
 by Seven Seas News Team

When a wastewater treatment plant becomes outdated, its life expectancy can be extended by retrofitting the system with modern components or technologies.

Upgrades and water partnerships can keep costly replacements at bay

Wastewater treatment plants ensure that sewage is adequately managed to prevent contaminating aquatic systems with pathogens or nutrients that can cause harmful algal blooms. But those plants can’t operate indefinitely without a little help.

Wastewater pipes can last up to 100 years, but a treatment plant typically lasts only 40 to 50 years before needing upgrades. The lifespan of the equipment in the plant is usually much shorter, closer to 15 to 20 years.

This means that wastewater treatment facilities built in the early 1970s are reaching the end of their useful life, and will need to be repaired, upgraded, or replaced with more modern wastewater treatment technologies.

There are several factors that can affect the life expectancy of a wastewater treatment plant, including:

  • Growing population. As populations in towns and cities grow, so does the volume of wastewater. Over several decades of growth, the treatment facility may have to process much higher volumes of wastewater than it was designed for. That can strain the plant’s equipment and components, and ultimately reduce its life expectancy.
  • Outdated treatment technologies. Older technologies might not meet the more stringent environmental standards for effluent discharge that are required today. Older technologies also tend to be less efficient, so they consume more energy, resulting in higher running costs. The good news is that many newer technologies can be incorporated into existing plants to upgrade the system, thereby improving performance and efficiency, boosting a plant’s capacity, and extending its lifespan.
  • Aging wastewater infrastructure — When pumps, motors, and flow control do not adequately meet the needs of the plant, it can result in higher energy bills and put undue strain on plant equipment, shortening its lifespan. That lifespan can be extended by routinely inspecting the system and following a regular maintenance schedule.

Extending Lifespan Through Retrofits and Upgrades

When a wastewater treatment plant becomes outdated, its life expectancy can be extended by retrofitting the system with modern components or upgrading with technologies that are better suited for the job.

Modern equipment tends to be more energy-efficient than older pumps, motors, and other components. This increases the cost-efficiency of an older plant and reduces the amount of greenhouse gases produced during the treatment process.

Yet, municipalities with aging wastewater infrastructure often face several challenges. They often do not have the expertise, or lack the capacity, to choose a wastewater solution based on their current and future needs. Budget constraints also may limit their options, forcing them to delay much-needed upgrades. But there are solutions to those problems.

Upgrading Wastewater Treatment Plants Through Water Partnerships

Seven Seas Water Group’s Water-as-a-Service® (WaaS®) partnerships can help cash-strapped municipalities upgrade wastewater infrastructure. The WaaS® partnerships allow municipal managers to acquire the plant they need without any upfront capital.

Seven Seas will design, build, operate, update, and maintain infrastructure on our client’s behalf according to the client’s needs and budget or acquire and upgrade existing plants.

Contact Seven Seas to find out more about our Water-as-a-Service® partnerships and how they can help extend the lifespan of your wastewater treatment plant.

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