The Wastewater Treatment Plant, located at 9300 W. Jefferson Avenue in Detroit, is the largest single-site wastewater treatment facilities in the United States. Of the more than $22.5 million spent to ready the plant for its February 1940 startup, $10 million was spent on plant construction with the balance going to complete the network of huge interceptor sewers through which a combined stream of storm and sanitary wastewater flows to the plant from communities throughout metro Detroit.
The treatment plant was originally designed to provide primary treatment (screening of solids and chlorination) for the wastewater generated by 2.4 million people and, with modifications, as many as 4 million people. The plant’s service area in 1940 included Detroit and 11 nearby suburban communities. Secondary treatment (more rigorous screening and treating and disinfection of biodegradable solids to produce an even cleaner effluent) was introduced in the 1960s. DWSD’s Wastewater Treatment Plant continues to be the recipient of continual upgrades in order to ensure it is capable of staying abreast of ever more stringent regulatory standards.
Currently, the Wastewater Treatment Plant services the needs of 35-percent of the state’s population contained within Detroit and 76 other communities in a service area of more than 946 square miles. In 1999, the Michigan section of the American Society of Civil Engineers named the Wastewater Treatment Plant one of the top 10 engineering projects of the 20th century.
The Department’s Industrial Waste Control Division, located at 303 S. Livernois, is responsible for implementing and enforcing city and federal regulations pertaining to the pretreatment of industrial wastewater.