Wastewater Treatment Facility

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.
Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility Arial Photo
Simon Wheeler / ©2008 The Ithaca Journal, used by permission.
Wastewater Treatment
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.

EPA Licensed
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).