News Flash


Posted on: July 9, 2020

High-tech sludge dryer coming to wastewater treatment plant

Gryphon Drying System input

One of the foundations of modern civilization is indoor plumbing. Running water and flushing toilets make life better. In a city, everything flushed down a toilet doesn't magically disappear. It all gets treated at a sewer plant.

This week, workers started installing a new treatment system at the Lower Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Staff have nicknamed the new equipment "the poop dryer." The new system will replace the plant’s old treatment process, "the poop mixer."

When a toilet is flushed in the City of Lenoir, that sewer water travels to a City wastewater treatment plant. Screens at the plant filter out all the solids in the sewer water. That water is treated and released back into local creeks that run into the Catawba River. The stuff left over is called "sludge" or "cake."

The old machine at the Lower Creek Plant would heat and mix sludge with lime. The process kills bacteria, and creates a Class A fertilizer that farmers used on fields. 

One of the downsides of the old system was that mixing in lime created a large volume of fertilizer. Also, the lime was dusty and corrosive. The mixer was 20 years old. Primary parts were breaking and it was becoming more difficult and expensive to fix. Machines don’t last forever.

"We were having continuing maintenance issues, and it was time to do something," Public Utilities Director Radford Thomas said.

Last year, Thomas started researching new treatment systems. After several site visits, Thomas suggested to Council that the City buy the Grpyhon Drying System. 

The Gryphon uses a belt and propane heaters to dry and pasteurize sludge. Staff dump sludge or cake in at one end. The cake moves via a belt under several propane dryers. At the end of the belt, the dried sludge has become a Class A fertilizer (without lime). The fertilizer goes into a truck to be stored or taken to a field. It takes about 30 minutes from the start to finish.

"This will be a much cleaner process and will create a much smaller volume," Thomas said. "It will also be more efficient and easier to maintain. This is a state-of-the-art system."

In February, Contractors started prepping the existing building for the new dryer. The first section of the dryer arrived Tuesday, July 7. All dryer parts should be on site this week.

"It’ll take a couple months to get it up and running and tested, but we hope to have it online in October," Thomas said. "Barring any unforeseen problems."

Gryphon Drying System belt area

Gryphon Drying System being installed at the Lower Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in News

City workers have graded and prepped new section of greenway at T.H. Wilson Park.

City expanding greenway at Wilson Park

Posted on: November 20, 2020
City of Lenoir Christmas tree in Downtown Lenoir, Nov. 18, 2020

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Posted on: November 18, 2020
The City Hall lobby has been upgraded with new LED lighting.

Bright lights, big savings

Posted on: November 13, 2020

Turkey Tuesday canceled this year

Posted on: November 13, 2020
Person in a ghost costume, Have a Happy and Safe Halloween

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Posted on: October 30, 2020
Truck performing leaf pickup

Leaf collection starts in November

Posted on: October 23, 2020
Paving message board on Mulberry Street in Lenoir, Oct. 23, 2020.

Paving on Mulberry Street starts Monday

Posted on: October 23, 2020
Greenhaven Drive from Blowing Rock Boulevard to Arlington Circle was repaved Oct. 19, 2020.

Paving project started this week

Posted on: October 20, 2020
Richard Hedrick

City Council honors Richard Hedrick

Posted on: October 9, 2020
Woman sitting at a desk holding a phone in front of a laptop

Like online services? We have a few.

Posted on: September 23, 2020
Greenhaven Street in front of the Martin Luther King Jr Center

City paving streets

Posted on: September 23, 2020
The front of the house located at 213 Sunset St.

Controlled burn on Sunset Street

Posted on: June 23, 2020
A delegation from the City of Lenoir poses with their 2020 NC Main Street Awards.

Lenoir wins again at state conference

Posted on: March 18, 2020
State of Emergency

City declares state of emergency

Posted on: March 18, 2020
City of Lenoir Seal

City recreation centers closing

Posted on: March 14, 2020

Several city events canceled

Posted on: March 13, 2020
Winter Weather Delay

City facilities opening late Friday

Posted on: February 20, 2020
Barricades on Pennell Street at Zacks Fork Creek due to flooding

Don't move or drive around barricades

Posted on: February 6, 2020
A single luminary illuminated at night at Blue Ridge Memorial Park, Dec. 152017

Luminary Display postponed

Posted on: December 12, 2019
A close up of Corporal Hamrick's plaque of appreciation

Fire Chief recognizes Officer and Deputy

Posted on: December 4, 2019