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19.2 Wastewater Treatment Effectiveness Rate

This indicator measures the percentage of time in a year the wastewater treatment facility is discharging effluent (treated wastewater) into the Rio Grande in compliance with quality standards.

This indicator is part of Quality wastewater systems.

Indicator description:

This indicator measures the percentage of time in a year (fiscal) the wastewater treatment facility is discharging effluent (treated wastewater) into the Rio Grande in compliance with quality standards defined in the discharge permit from United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This percentage of time can also be quantified by the number of EPA Permit Violations. The percentage of time is compared to that of combined water and wastewater utilities, utilities serving populations greater than half a million, and utilities located in the western United States. It should be noted that up through Fiscal Year 2005, Albuquerque operated under a very strict discharge permit required for religious ceremonies conducted at the Isleta Pueblo, downstream from the treatment plant.

Wastewater (WW) Treatment Effectiveness Rate
Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 2010 2011 2012
% time WW treatment facility is in full compliance with effluent quality standards 94.00% 93.20% 94.50% 95.30%
# of days in noncompliance 22 25 20 17
Benchmark Utilities Fiscal Year Top    Quartile Median Bottom Quartile
Combined Water/Sewer Utilities 2012 100.0% 99.7% 99.2%
Utilities with population > 500,000 2012 99.7% 99.7% 99.2%
Utilities located in the western US 2012 100.0% 99.7% 99.5%

Why is this indicator relevant?

Wastewater systems are composed of two major components: the collection system and the treatment system. This indicator rates the effectiveness of the treatment process in meeting the discharge requirements established by permit with the EPA. If the permit terms are violated, remediation is required with probable expensive upgrades and fines. Also, New Mexicans downstream may be impacted by health threats and water treatment costs.


Data Sources:

Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA), citing American Water Works Association (AWWA) Benchmarking survey.

What can we tell from the data?

  • The area’s wastewater treatment plant effectiveness is improving. From 2011 to 2012, the number of days in noncompliance decreased from 20 to 17.
  • The effectiveness rate places our plant in the bottom quartile among other large utilities serving populations greater than half a million and in the bottom quartile when compared to other western utilities.

 

For Help in understanding this page, see Understanding Indicators.

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