Marion County Utilities currently operates 11 wastewater treatment
facilities and 34 water treatment plants in various communities around the
county. We are working to consolidate some of these facilities in order to
eliminate many of the older plants, to provide better service to our
existing customers, and to offer service to new communities as Marion County
continues to grow.
What is wastewater and how does it get from the customer to the treatment
Wastewater is water that is discarded as useless after being used. Sewage is
the correct term for wastewater that is contaminated with human waste, but
is often used to mean any waste water. It can include domestic, municipal,
or industrial waste, usually disposed of via a pipe or similar structure.
There are two ways to dispose of most wastewater. One is to use an on-site
system, more commonly known as a septic system. The second is to send the
wastewater into a collection system, which sends the wastewater through a
series of pipes to reach the treatment facility. This is commonly known as a
gravity feed system, which uses gravity and slopes to propel the wastewater
through the pipes. Occasionally, wastewater has to be pumped from a low
point to a higher point, so that gravity can continue to do most of the
This is done with a Lift Station. This is a pre-cast holding tank, usually
8-10' deep, and 6' wide, with pumps to force the wastewater into a pipe for
the uphill journey. This creates a pressurized pipe, which is commonly
referred to as a force main. Once the wastewater has reached a higher point,
it may be channeled back into another gravity feed system, and continues in
this manner, until it reaches the treatment facility.
Upon entering the treatment facility, the wastewater goes through a screen
to filter out the larger particulates. It then is processed through an
oxidation chamber, passes into a clarification tank, passes over and through
many filters designed to remove the smallest particles and microbes. The
final step is the chlorine contact chamber. The finished product is water
that meets federal and state guidelines for drinking water. This product is
reclaimed water, which can be used for irrigation on golf courses,
commercial or residential landscape or used to irrigate certain crops such
as grass or hay.