Penn State owns and operates the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), and is permitted to treat up to 4 million gallons per day of wastewater. The plant is comprised of two treatment trains: activated sludge and trickling filters. The trickling filter processed water is sent through a Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) process to reduce the nitrate levels in the wastewater. The disinfected treated water from these two parallel treatment trains is combined and spray irrigated on approximately 516 acres of farmland and forests near the University and helps to recharge the groundwater system.
Wastewater Treatment Faq
The Water Services FAQ makes it easy to find fast answers to questions about the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Please contact the Wastewater Treatment Plant at (814) 865-8710 with additional questions.
Q: What is wastewater?
A: Wastewater is any water that can no longer be used for its original intended purpose. Potable water that can no longer be consumed can be wastewater.
Q: Why treat wastewater?
A: We treat wastewater so it does not contaminate receiving streams. As a society, we have decided that as a goal, all natural water should be fishable and swimmable.
Q: What is the plant capacity?
A: The Penn State design capacity is 4.0 million gallons per day.
Q: How is the Penn State plant different?
A: Penn State demonstrates its commitment to sustainability through replenishing the regional groundwater by spray irrigating all effluent.
Q: How is wastewater treated?
A: Depending on what the intended use of the water is, the treatment process will vary. Generally, wastewater to be discharged to receiving streams is treated to remove solids, biochemical oxygen demand and nutrients that cause excessive vegetative growth.
Q: Does Penn State football affect the WWTP?
A: Penn State football games have virtually no effect on the plant.
Q: Who owns the WWTP on University Drive?
A: The WWTP on University Dr. is owned and operated by Penn State.
Q: What do you do with your sludge?
A: The University tries to always utilize the most cost effective treatment methods. Currently, landfilling is our most cost effective method for disposing stabilized sludge. We do not sell sludge to the public.
Q: How much gas is generated?
A: The amount of gas generated depends on the “health” of the digesters. Typically, when the students are on campus, we generate about 95,000 cubic feet of gas per day.
Q: Is there a University policy on what can be dumped into the sanitary sewer?