Have you ever wondered where the water goes after it runs down the drain of your kitchen sink? What happens when you flush the toilet? Fortunately, we rarely have to think about it. That’s because—in Peoria, Peoria Heights, Bartonville, West Peoria and Bellevue—the Greater Peoria Sanitary District (GPSD) is on the job, working to collect and treat that wastewater.
GPSD is a municipal corporation governed by a board of five trustees, who are appointed by the chair of the Peoria County Board of Supervisors. Here are some quick facts about its operations:
- GPSD provides sanitary sewer service to 50,000 customers across 66 square miles. It maintains 716 miles of sanitary sewers and has over 18,000 manholes throughout its service area.
- Wastewater leaves your residence (and other buildings) through four- and six-inch building sewers. Building sewers are owned by the property owner; maintenance and repair is their responsibility.
- Building sewers empty into larger collector sewers, which collect wastewater from subdivisions and commercial developments. That wastewater is then emptied into even larger trunk sewers, which in turn empty into two interceptor sewers.
- The collection system is designed to carry wastewater by gravity, following the natural drainage patterns of the land. When that is not possible, pump stations push the wastewater uphill until gravity flow can again be used. The GPSD collection system includes 17 pump stations.
- All of this collected wastewater flows to GPSD’s wastewater treatment plant, which typically treats 20 to 25 million gallons of wastewater each day. During periods of extreme wet weather, it can treat up to 154 million gallons of wastewater daily. Reclaimed water is returned to the Illinois River near the Kickapoo Creek.
- Since 1931, GPSD has treated sewage through a process consisting of physical separation of solid material and biological treatment of oxygen-demanding waste. The treatment process converts dissolved pollutants to biological solids, which are used as cover at local landfills or applied to farmland.
- GPSD operates a fully-equipped laboratory to monitor the treatment process and ensure it meets EPA requirements for water discharged to the river. On an average day, 150 to 200 tests are performed as part of the lab operations.
Guided tours of the GPSD treatment plant at 2322 South Darst Street in Peoria are available by appointment. Call (309) 272-4878 to arrange a tour, or visit gpsd.dst.il.us/virtual-tour to take a virtual tour. iBi