SJRA owns, operates, and maintains three Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs), all of which are regional plants that serve the wastewater treatment needs of several Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) in the immediate area.
SJRA’s excellent history of compliance with its Texas Pollution Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) permits for our various wastewater treatment plants has been rewarded by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and the Water Environment of Texas. SJRA facilities have earned annual NACWA Peak Performance awards and Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Year awards.
Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 1
WWTP No. 1 is located north of Sawdust Road, has a design capacity of 7.8 million gallons per day (MGD), and is permitted for a 2-hour peak flow of 18.0 MGD. The WWTP receives raw sewage (influent) from residential dwellings and commercial businesses. The average daily flow is approximately 3.5 MGD.
Wastewater treatment at this facility consists of mechanical and manual bar screens, a grit removal unit, four aeration basins, three secondary clarifiers, two low-head sand filters, and three chlorine contact basins. The sludge handling units include aerobic digesters, a gravity thickener, and a belt filter press.
Influent is treated through a mechanical bar screen before reaching the influent lift stations. Influent is then treated further through a degritter unit. Treated water is then gravity fed into aeration basin splitter boxes where the influent/raw is mixed with the return activated sludge (RAS). RAS is the process by which the active bugs are recycled to the new wastewater that does not have as many bugs. Two aeration basins are equipped with mechanical aerators; the other two basins utilize fine bubble diffused aeration systems, with the air provided by 200 hp blowers. The mixed liquor (or concentration of suspended solids) from the aeration basins is routed to a splitter box before being gravity fed into three secondary clarifiers. The clarified effluent is then gravity fed to two low-head sand filters. Filtered effluent is further treated using chlorine disinfection. Treated and disinfected effluent is then de-chlorinated with sulfur dioxide.
The treated effluent is discharged to Panther Branch or alternatively to Harrison Lake for reuse for golf course irrigation.
Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 2
WWTP No. 2 is located on Research Forest, has a design capacity of 6.0 MGD, and is permitted for a 2-hour peak flow of 15.6 MGD. The WWTP receives raw sewage (influent) from residential dwellings and commercial businesses. The average daily flow is approximately 3.5 MGD.
Wastewater treatment at this facility consists of mechanical and manual bar screens, a grit removal unit, eight aeration basins, three secondary clarifiers, three low-head sand filters, and ultraviolet light disinfection. Sludge handling units include aerobic digesters, a gravity thickener, gravity belt thickeners, and two belt filter presses.
Influent is treated through a mechanical bar screen after reaching the influent lift station. Treated water is then gravity fed into aeration basin splitter boxes where the influent/raw is mixed with the RAS. All aeration basins utilize fine bubble diffused aeration systems that are similar to the “bubblers” in a fish tank. The mixed liquor from the aeration basins is routed to a splitter box before being gravity fed into three secondary clarifiers. The clarified effluent is then gravity fed to three low-head sand filters. Filtered effluent is disinfected using ultraviolet light. Treated and disinfected effluent is then discharged to Panther Branch, which feeds into Lake Woodlands.
Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 3
WWTP No. 3 is located in Harpers Landing and has a permitted flow of 0.900 MGD. The WWTP receives influent from residential dwellings and a few commercial businesses. The average daily flow is 0.510 MGD.
Plant influent flows to the headworks, which has an automatic mechanical fine screen and aeration flow splitter. From the headworks, wastewater flows to the aeration basins, then to the secondary clarifiers. Clarifier effluent flows into the chlorine contact basins and then to the outfall, which discharges to an unnamed creek. Solids from the secondary clarifiers are either routed back to the headworks or pumped into aerobic digesters. Liquid sludge is disposed of via Land Application at a site that is not located at the facility.
Wastewater Treatment Frequently Asked Questions
Used water (also known as wastewater) is gravity fed or pumped through the wastewater collection system to one of our three wastewater treatment plants. The water is then cleaned and returned to area basins, creeks, or tributaries; where it flows downstream and is used for various purposes. It is a little known fact that the treated wastewater we return to the creek is much cleaner than the water that is currently in the creek. We consistently meet stringent state and EPA wastewater standards and have won awards for our wastewater treatment facility operations.
If you notice a wastewater odor outside or sewage coming up in your home, please contact the Woodlands Joint Powers Agency (WJPA) at 281-367-1271.
Run fresh water in all sinks to fill traps (the piping under sinks that has a “C”- shaped curve) inside the house. If this does not cure the problem, check the toilet and make sure it’s firmly attached to the floor; the wax seal around the toilet may be compromised. If this does not work, please contact the Woodlands Joint Powers Agency (WJPA) at 281-367-1271.
Water (effluent) reuse is a process that uses highly treated wastewater in place of potable or drinking water for various purposes including: landscape and agricultural irrigation; heating and cooling; industrial processing; wetland habitat creation, restoration and maintenance; and groundwater recharge. The majority of states in the U.S. have established criteria or guidelines for the beneficial use of recycled water.
The Woodlands Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 1 has an effluent reuse permit that allows SJRA to send up to 600,000 gallons per day to Lake Harrison. This reuse is partially used to irrigate a nearby golf course.