OXFORD – An out of service piece of equipment at Oxford’s wastewater treatment plant won’t have an immediate impact on residents, but it may force the village’s hand in overhauling the South Canal Street facility which has been processing the municipality’s sewage for the last two decades.
“They were on borrowed time,” reported Village of Oxford Mayor Terry Stark, explaining that the useful life for much of the equipment in use at the facility, which was constructed between 1988 and 1989, is 20 years.
On Sept. 18, that time ran out for one of the plant’s two Rotating Biological Contactors (RBCs), when the shaft broke on the piece of equipment. Since that time, the facility has been operating using the one remaining unit.
According to Stark, the RBCs play a crucial role in removing pollutants from the waste water processed by the plant. After passing through the facility’s primary clarifier, the effluent treated at the plant passes through at least one of the RBCs, where closely spaced pie-shaped media disks, laden with microorganisms, are affixed to a long shaft. As the shaft rotates and the media passes through the waste water, the “bugs” help break down the sewage by absorbing organic material. The waste water is then passed through a second clarifier and a chlorine contact tank before being expelled into the Chenango River.