The history of Water Reclamation in Greensboro began with the construction of the 4 million gallon per day (MGD) South Buffalo Creek Treatment Facility in 1928. Located in a sparsely populated area on the southeastern edge of the city, the facility provided secondary treatment to municipal sewage and industrial waste prior to discharge into South Buffalo Creek. The facility served the city well for many years and was doubled in capacity to 8 MGD in 1956 to meet increased needs. Modifications and additional facilities were added in 1974 to further expand capacity to 12 MGD.
The North Buffalo Creek Water Reclamation Facility serves the northern half of Greensboro. Built in 1938 to provide secondary treatment to a total flow of 8 MGD of municipal sewage and industrial waste, the facility was expanded in 1959 to a capacity of 18 MGD. In 1980 the North Buffalo Facility was voluntarily downgraded to 16 MGD to produce an effluent lower in ammonia-nitrogen content.
The Metro Sewerage Plan was developed in 1972 to improve and protect Greensboro's water quality and environment for future generations. The plan included:
- Advanced treatment levels and odor protection at North Buffalo
- Interim improvements and odor protection at South Buffalo
- A new sewer outfall down South Buffalo Creek
- A new 20 MGD facility on South Buffalo Creek to replace the old South Buffalo Creek Facility, named the TZ Osborne Water Reclamation Facility
In 2001, TZ Osborne was expanded to 30 MGD and changed to a single stage aeration system, with the capability for future biological nutrient removal. Sand filters were installed along with two new standby power generators. In 2003, the Osborne facility was further expanded to 40 MGD.
Greensboro Wastewater Treatment Timeline
1882 Work began on City water system and sewer facilities.
1887 Sewer mains were installed in portions of the city for the first time, and a sanitary engineer was hired to supervise the system.
1889 City’s Board of Aldermen granted “power to construct a system of sewerage for the city and protect and regulate the same by adequate ordinances.”
1899 A typhoid epidemic closed the State Normal and Industrial College (formerly State Normal School), for two months, opening after City water was installed and new sewer lines were laid. Voters approve $300,000 bond issue, which included $100,000 for purchase and improvement to the waterworks system and $65,000 to extend the sewerage system.
1916 Head of State Board of Health said that Greensboro had made more progress in sewerage than any city in the state.
1926 City residents maintain 2,800 outhouses in violation of the 1917 ordinance requiring hookups to the sewage system.
1928 South Buffalo Creek Treatment Facility was constructed. (4 MGD)
1938 North Buffalo Creek Treatment Facility was constructed. (8 MGD)
1956 South Buffalo Facility was upgraded to 8 MGD, then 12 MGD in 1974.
1959 North Buffalo Facility was expanded to 18 MGD.
1980 North Buffalo Facility was voluntarily downgraded to 16 MGD in order to produce an effluent lower in ammonia-nitrogen content.
1981 Construction was started on the Metro Facility , and the facility was renamed the Thomas Z. Osborne Facility to honor the City Manager who steadfastly guided the City's wastewater program.
1982 A sludge force main was installed from North Buffalo to TZ Osborne to allow total waste sludge processing and incineration for Greensboro to take place at one facility.
1984 Osborne Facility began operation, and the old South Buffalo Facility was retired.
1991 Upgraded odor removal systems at the Osborne Facility, which included installation of an additional odor scrubber, and increased air-flow capacity of an existing odor scrubber. In addition, the primary settling tanks, first stage aeration tanks, and sludge wet-wells were also covered.
1991 Installation of Sodium Aluminate storage and feed systems at both facilities enabled compliance with new effluent phosphorus limits imposed by the State.
1993 Installation of a flow transfer pumping station and pipeline from the North Buffalo Facility to the Osborne Facility provided up to 10 MGD flow relief.
1995 Two new high solids centrifuges were installed at the Osborne Facility for improved sludge dewatering capability, prior to incineration.
1996 Installation of a new fluidized bed incineration system at the Osborne Facility, to replace the existing multiple hearth incineration system.
2001 Osborne Facility was expanded to 30 MGD and changed to a single stage aeration system, with the capability for future biological nutrient removal. Sand filters were installed along with two new standby power generators.
2003 Osborne Facility was expanded to 40 MGD.