Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility
The Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility (IAWWTF) is an Intermunicipal Agency, a successful example of cooperation between multiple municipalities.
The IAWWTF is owned by three municipalities (The City of Ithaca, and the Towns of Ithaca and Dryden). Representatives of these communities worked together over a 14-year planning and construction period, to create a facility critical to public health and protective of the environment for current and future generations. This treatment plant has been serving its owners' communities since October 1987.
After water is
used in homes, institutions, and businesses, it is delivered as
wastewater to the sanitary sewer system. There are approximately 80
miles of sanitary sewer mains located underground throughout the City of
Ithaca, with additional amounts in the other areas served. The service
area has separate sanitary and stormwater collection systems.
Wastewater flows through the sanitary sewer mains primarily by gravity.
In addition, there are a small number of pump stations that help deliver
wastewater to the IAWWTF for treatment.
The IAWWTF is designed
to remove nutrients, solids, and waterborne pathogens from wastewater
and to recycle clean water into Cayuga Lake. We treat approximately 6.5
to 7 million gallons of raw sewage each day, although there are
noticeable seasonal variations tied to school schedules. In addition,
volumes increase at times of rain fall and snow melt and can approach a
flow rate of 30 to 35 million gallons per day for short duration. The
vast increase is due to the infiltration and inflow of other water into
the sewer. This primarily results from: old sewers with cracks or leaky
joints, illegally connected house footing drains, sump pumps or roof
drains, or leaky manhole covers.
The IAWWTF is fully licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
(NYSDEC). The laboratory at the plant is certified by the New York State
Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the National Environmental Laboratory
Approval Program (NELAP).