Arcata Wastewater Treatment Plant and Wildlife Sanctuary - Treatment and Enhancement

Treatment and Enhancement

Sewage from the City of Arcata is treated and released to Humboldt Bay via complex flow routing through a number of contiguous ponds, wetlands, and marshes. Resemblance of treatment features to natural bay environments may cause potential ambiguity about where wastewater ceases to be considered partially treated sewage and meets enhancement objectives of the California Bays and Estuaries Policy. The wastewater treatment system includes both treatment wetlands and enhancement marshes. Treatment wetlands improve oxidation pond effluent quality to meet the federal definition of secondary treatment. Disinfection and dechlorination is the final step of the wastewater treatment process. Disinfected wastewater may be discharged either to Humboldt Bay or to enhancement marshes. Enhancement marshes purify the wastewater and provide wetland habitat. Enhancement marsh effluent is disinfected to improve coliform index changes from birds using tertiary treatment enhancement marsh habitat. Wild bird feces contain coliform bacteria similar to those found in human sewage. Recreational access is limited to areas where effluent has received secondary treatment and disinfection.

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