The discharge of high strength industrial waste, primarily from the meat packing industries, to the Omaha combined sewer system has been an issue for many years. In the Monroe Basin, there are currently seven industrial facilities that discharge this type of waste into the sewer system. In the 1950s, efforts were made to separate the meat packing waste streams from the combined system. However, with the decline of meat packing activities in the 1970s and 1980s, many of these facilities were abandoned and the sanitary sewers were reconnected back into the combined sewer system. In 2008, the City of Omaha Public Works Department initiated a study with the intent of reestablishing the separate treatment system and eliminating the overflow of these high strength waste streams to the Missouri River during wet weather periods.
Per study recommendations, design work was divided into three major phases: separation, conveyance, and treatment. The sewer separation work will remove the industrial dischargers from the existing combined sewer system within the Monroe Basin and deliver flows to the existing 22nd and Washington Joint Use Facility Site. At this location, a conveyance system will then deliver flows via a separate sewer line to the Missouri River Water Resource Recovery Facility. Finally, a new industrial treatment system will treat the high strength waste separately from the rest of the City’s wastewater.
This first project, the South Omaha Industrial Area Sewer Separation (SOIASS) Project was completed in the fall of 2010 and involved sanitary and storm sewer construction at 10 project sites as well as cleaning of existing sewer lines.