The Wastewater Operations Branch, led by Senior Assistant Director Jason A. Iken, P.E., provides Wastewater services to the citizens of Houston. These services are divided into four primary areas as follows:
The first area, WASTEWATER FACILITIES OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE is charged with protecting public health and the environment by providing wastewater services through treatment of wastewater generated by residential, commercial and industrial customers. To insure routine daily activities can be carried out by our citizens, the branch operates and maintains 40 wastewater treatment plants treating an average of 277 million gallons per day, and 420 lift stations over a 650 square mile region. The system is closely managed through our Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) central monitoring system in order to meet all federal and state regulatory requirements and most important to provide 24-hour per day wastewater service to our customers.
The success of our Wastewater Operations Branch can be measured by its EPA and TCEQ discharge permit compliance rate of 99% and in the thirty-seven Platinum, Gold and Silver awards given to the City by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) in 2007. The criteria for these awards are for consistently meeting EPA NPDES permit limits for five or more consecutive years for Platinum, for no permit violations during the calendar year for Gold Award and no more than five permit violations during the calendar year for a Silver Award.
The second area, WASTEWATER COLLECTION SYSTEMS OPERATIONS is charged with the operation and maintenance of over 6,250 miles of sewer pipelines ranging in size from 6 inches to 144 inches in diameter, with over 130,000 manholes. Sewer depths range from 2 feet to 80 feet. This section is also responsible for implementing the Agreed Order (AO) requirements that were approved by the TCEQ. Implementation involves planning, analyzing, and designing sewer rehabilitation projects totaling over $65 million each fiscal year, managing construction of these projects, and implementing the fats, oils, and grease reduction program.
The third area, PLANNING AND ENGINEERING is charged with supporting capital improvement projects, managing operations and maintenance contracts, regulatory compliance support, odor control program management, and process optimization.
The fourth area, PRETREATMENT / INDUSTRIAL WASTEWATER SERVICE is charged with managing one of the largest pretreatment programs in the nation which administers and enforces federal EPA regulations, as well as City of Houston Ordinance, Chapter 47, Article V., (Disposal of Industrial Wastes through City Sewer System).