Sparta Reuse Facility
A large part of northeast Louisiana depends on the Sparta Aquifer for its commercial, industrial, and drinking water. More than 10 years ago, leaders began to notice that source was in serious decline and began to see signs of saltwater intrusion.
The portion of the aquifer in West Monroe, Louisiana was the most threatened because its largest single user is Graphic Packaging, a papermill that uses 10 million gallons of water per day and serves as one of the area’s largest employers.
City leaders put together a solution - upgrade the effluent from the City’s wastewater treatment plant to the level the papermill could substitute for aquifer water.
The City of West Monroe constructed what became known as the Sparta Reuse Facility. After testing the process for a full year, the City began sending water to the paper mill on April 30, 2012.
The treatment facility is capable of treating 10 million gallons per day and is done 365 days of the year. This water meets all EPA primary and secondary drinking water standards.
The facility treats and delivers all available influent which is approximately 5 to 6 million gallons per day. Influent from other sewer districts and community treatment facilities is being added with the ultimate goal of supplying the mill with the 10 million gallons per day needed to eliminate their use of the aquifer.
What are the benefits?
- More fresh water in the Sparta Aquifer. The project reduces overdraw by an average of 40% at current maximum annual capacity.
- A new water supply for a thirst industry. Recycling at its current maximum capacity, West Monroe can consistently supply approximately one half of the freshwater requirements of Graphic Packaging International, which was the largest single user of water from the Sparta Aquifer.
- A reduced burden on the environment. Virtually all the waste water generated by West Monroe and a heavily populated area of west Ouachita Parish is recycled and reused, not discharged into the Ouachita River
- A better future for Northeast Louisiana. The Sparta Reuse Project is really just an innovative way to use proven technology. Made into portable units, the technology could be shipped anywhere and used in emergencies to turn an adequate and appropriate source of untreated water into potable drinking water.
- Protects the integrity of the Ouachita River
- Helps facilitate the stability of the community’s largest employer (Graphic Packaging International, 1200 employees with 650 indirect timber industry workers
- Helps raise the awareness of the community’s needs for recycled water
The Sparta Re-Use Facility has been recognized around the word for its ingenuity and efforts to protect a community’s source of drinking water. Some of the many awards received are:
- 2010 EPA Pisces Award
- 2012 White House Champions of Change
- 2012 Louisiana Water Environment Association Sustainable Solutions Award
- 2013 City and County Magazine Crown Communities
- 2013 Northeast Region of Louisiana Conference on Sewerage, Water, and Industrial Wastes Wastewater Quality Contest
- 2013 Louisiana Rural Water Association Water Conservation and Reuse Award
- 2014 Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Environmental Leadership Program Special Recognition Award
- 2014 Air and Waste Management Association-Louisiana Section Joseph D. Martinez Environmental Achievement Award
- 2015 Wateruse Association Large Project of the Year
- 2016 Environmental Council of the States Innovative Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund Project
- 2016 The Green Organisation Green Apple Award for Sustainable Water Management
- 2017 The Green Organisation Green World Ambassadors
- 2017 Green World Organisation North Americas Champion
- 2018 Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Environmental Leadership Program Special Recognition Award