10 – Southside Wastewater Reclamation Plant

Cleaning Wastewater

The Southside Wastewater Reclamation Plant (SWRP) treats approximately 55 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater. The plant, built in the 1960’s and upgraded in 1994, is the largest wastewater treatment facility in New Mexico and treats wastewater from Albuquerque, parts of Tijeras Canyon, and parts of Rio Rancho (including Intel). Since the water in our river is used downstream by Isleta Pueblo inhabitants for ceremonial purposes, our cleaned water quality requirements are stringent.

Wastewater flows through bar screens, grit chambers, clarifiers, aeration tanks, and final clarifiers. Although the water is currently disinfected with chlorine and then dechlorinated with sulfur dioxide, we are currently constructing an ultraviolet light disinfection facility. After the water is disinfected it is discharged into the Rio Grande.

Sludge removed from the wastewater is concentrated and collected in anaerobic digesters where it produces methane gas. Our on-site Cogeneration Plant uses that methane gas to produce up to 6.6 megawatts of power, or about 70% of the plant’s energy needs. Finally, the stabilized biosolids from the digesters are dewatered and sent to our Soil Amendment Facility where they are turned into compost, spread on rangeland, or disposed by land application.