Waste Water Treatment Plant - Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Can someone in Frankenmuth test my water?

A: No, you need to go to the Saginaw County Laboratory. Please call (989) 758-3825 before taking the water sample. The cost for the test is $12.00 per sample.

Q: What is my sewer rate?

A: Click Here

Q: What exactly is “sludge”?

A: There are 3 different types of sludge at the wastewater treatment plant:

Primary sludge – This sludge is made up of heavier solids that settle out in the Primary Tanks. It is Dark Gray in color, mostly organic, and doesn’t smell to good.

Activated sludge – This sludge is composed of millions of microorganisms that are used to provide biological treatment of the wastewater.   Organisms such as ciliates, flagellates, and rotifers oxidize or consume the suspended & dissolved solids in the water.   These are the “bugs” that do the majority of the work in cleaning the wastewater, so a top priority at the plant is keeping them happy.   Since these organisms reproduce from consuming food we have to remove a certain amount each week. Activated sludge is a medium brown color and has a slight earthly smell to it.

Digested Sludge – This sludge is a result of anaerobic (without air) digestion of primary and removed activated sludge.   Both sludges are pumped to tanks called digesters that act like compost piles but work much faster.   Once these sludges are properly digested, they are pumped to a holding tank with eventual removal to farmland. Digested sludge is black in color and has a strong earthy ammonia smell.

Q:  Is land application of digested sludge safe?

A:  The City operates under a permit issued by the State to land apply to farmland. The permit goes by the acronym of PERM, or Program for Effective Residuals Management.   The wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) has strict requirements to follow if we want to land apply, such as sludge sampling & analysis, sludge application data, farm field restrictions, and certification statements.

Q:  How long does it take a gallon of wastewater to go through the WWTP?

A:  It takes about 23 to 24 hours based on a daily flow of 1 million gallons/day.

Q:  How much does it cost to treat 1000 gallons of wastewater?

A:  The current bill is $5.08/per 1000 gallons. 55% is for operations, maintenance & replacement of equipment, with the other 45% going for debt service. There is also a readiness to serve charge that is $6.46/month for a standard residential water meter. This charge covers administrative and transmission costs such as sanitary sewer & pump station expenses.

Q:  How does wastewater get from my house to the WWTP?

A:  Wastewater flows by gravity from your house through a pipe to the sanitary sewer, that is usually located under the street.   Depending on where you live, your wastewater may flow to a pump or lift station. The pump station pumps the wastewater either directly to the WWTP or to another sanitary sewer where it then flows by gravity to the WWTP.