Cape Gets New Floculator

Cape water plant gets new settling basin 07-06-1967The Missourian ran one of my pictures and a story about construction resuming on a new floculator settling basin at the city’s water plant on East Cape Rock Drive. The caption said Missouri Utilities planned to build an additional clarifier,similar to the basin at top right. Water mixed with chemicals was pumped into tanks and the mud settled to the bottom.

Preparing for population of 50,000

Cape water plant gets new settling basin 07-06-1967

The July 8, 1967, story said the expansion was to prepare for the day when Cape’s population would reach 50,000. [The 2011 Census pegged Cape at 38,402. It still has a ways to go.]

The expansion was going to increase the city’s water output by 150 per cent. The original water plant was designed to hand about 3 million gallons of water a day, enough for about 31,500 persons. During the previous summer’s heat wave, the plant hit a peak of 3,880,000 gallons a day, exceeding its theoretical capacity. The improvements were to boost capacity to 4-1/2 million gallons a day.

Water comes from Mississippi River

 Cape water plant gets new settling basin 07-06-1967

Production engineer Fred N. LaBruyere said a pump used to pull water 1,900 feet from the river to the treatment plant would be replaced. The last major construction work took place in 1954, he said, and it was to improve the quality of the water, not the quantity.

[I hate to think what it tasted like before 1954. Cape water used to taste like chlorine with a few drops of water added.] I believe I read recently that all of Cape’s water comes from wells, not the river, these days.

Over the years, I got to cover the whole range of Cape liquids from the water treatment plant at the head end to the sewage treatment plant at the —uhhhh— other end.

Here are a few of the posts:



Consolidated Grain and Barge

When I was stumbling around trying to find out how to get to the old M.E. Leming Lumber Company, I took a chance on going down LaCruz Street in what used to be Smelterville. I sort of didn’t see a sign that said don’t go here and popped out next to Consolidated Grain and Barge, now labeled CGB. I didn’t realize CGB was such a big deal until I checked out their webpage.

The barge in the photo is idling until a southbound tow gets past. The low water has had things a little tight of late. In order to be able to steer, a boat has to be able to go faster than the current, so the southbound traffic has the right of way.

Aerial of LaCruz Street area

CGB is at the end of LaCruz Street, the street that runs from Sprigg, at the bottom, to the river. Look for the two storage bins to the right side of the light-colored lot. The facility just to the left of where the barge is passing is Cape’s Sewage Treatment Plant. Cape LaCroix Creek empties into the Mississippi at the right.

Photo gallery of CGB

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.



Cape’s Sewage Treatment Plant

I’ve been seeing stories pop up that Cape Girardeau residents are going to vote on whether or not to build a new waste water treatment plant by 2014. You can read more about it on the city’s website. I don’t have a dog in this hunt, so I’m not going to weigh in.

I flew over the treatment plant last fall. It looked smaller than I remembered it.

Front page story with byline

I did a front page Missourian story on Aug. 15, 1967, back in the day when we called it a “sewage treatment plant.” Not only did it run on 1A, but it ran with a byline, something that didn’t happen often.

Overall, it wasn’t badly written. The lead is a little long – “Cape Girardeau’s sewage treatment plant’s most important function is anti-pollution, but a byproduct of its operations is proving to be a substantial help to area farmers who literally reap the benefits when they harvest their crops.”

Treated sewage made excellent fertilizer

“After the raw sewage – which once had a direct line to the Mississippi River – is detoured, detained, treated and dried, the solid wastes make excellent fertilizer, farmers say.”

I loved stats and obscure factoids: “…about 35,000 pounds of sludge rolls off the plant’s 12-foot-wide vacuum coilfilter every other day, Tom Sides, supervisor, pointed out; this amounts to about 200 tons a month or about 7,200 tons in the three years the plant has been in operation.”

You don’t know how hard it is to write a story like this without slipping in some bad puns. John Blue was the only guy I ever worked for who would have given me this assignment without making some comment about it being a “[deleted]” story.

Some odor after rains

I quoted farmers Ervin Hobbs, Fred Theile and Mrs. Denver Perkins. All said their yields had increased. Mr. Thiele reported “there is some odor – particularly after it rains – but there aren’t any other farmers too close to here and it doesn’t bother anyone.”

Dr. S.B. Beecher of the State Public Health office in Poplar Bluff said that the state has never objected to the use of solid treated waste. Some St. Louis nurseries even used the liquid sewage, he said.

Came out  as felt-like material

Cape County Health Officer Marvin Campbell was less sold. “I don’t know how adequate the treatment is, I don’t know whether all the pathogenic organisms are being killed; I don’t know the strength of the chemicals being used, and I don’t know if any tests are being made to see if the organisms are being killed.”

Raw sewage flowed into the plant at the rate of 2,500 to 3,500 gallons a minute. By the time it got through the complex system of pumps, still wells and filters, it came out as clear water which was “almost drinkable” or as a slightly-damp, felt-like material. The latter is what the farmers used.

Two employees in addition to Mr. Sides work at the plant: Elmer J. Perry, operator, and Cecil Bierschwal, truck driver.