City leaders search for new, cheaper ways to dispose of spent materials

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 5:59 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - City leaders are looking for new and cheaper ways to dispose of spent materials used to keep drinking water safe.

One material the City is focusing on is spent lime, which has been used to remove harmful material like algae from drinking water. When the lime is used, the spent lime has to go somewhere.

The Toledo Water Treatment Plant goes through thousands of tons of spent lime every year. It can’t be stored on the plant properly so now the City is looking for new and cheaper ways to dispose of it.

“Save us money and at the same time put it to a beneficial reuse,” said Andy McClure, a Water Treatment Plant Operator. “Turn a mosquito infested quarry into a mitigated wetland.”

Putting some of the material in a quarry is an option that is being explored. A consultant has identified nearly 70 sites in Ohio and Michigan that could potentially take the material.

A further study has been approved by Toledo City Council to investigate 24 sites which are most likely to work.

Wherever it ends up, that spent lime will be tested.

“During algae season we have to test that spent lime as it’s coming out of our process,” said McClure. “If it exceeds a certain point, then they limit how you can reuse it.”

Toledo spends $7 million yearly to truck spent lime from the water treatment plant. Much of it is used in farm fields while some of it ends up in a landfill, which is not beneficial or cheap.

That’s why new ways are being explored because the water treatment plant isn’t going away.

“It helps us provide a much more consistent water quality even though the water quality in the lake can change greatly over time,” said McClure.

The City may work with multiple quarries for several years as they haul the material away. The quarries would also need to be permitted to once again make sure it is safe to handle the material.

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