Wastewater facilities are inherently expensive to build and maintain because of the corrosive characteristics of a sanitary waste stream. Equipment involved in wastewater treatment must be constructed of corrosion-resistant materials. The cost of this specialized equipment is relatively high compared to most standard industrial equipment. A large portion of the day-to-day maintenance at this facility involves applying corrosion-resistant coatings to equipment and structures to slow the deterioration rate. It has been estimated that the average useful life cycle of a wastewater treatment plant is only 25 years due to the affects of the corrosive environment. The Council Buffs plant is 45 years old and in excellent condition thanks to the efforts of the plant maintenance staff. More importantly, it is in excellent condition due to the ongoing support and desire of the community and City Council to keep this critical utility in good working condition and in compliance with all regulations.
An extension of the Treatment Plant, and equally as important, is the operation and maintenance of its 16 sanitary pump stations. These stations are designed to convey the collected waste stream to the Treatment Plant. Of these 16 stations, 5 are connected directly to a pipe linking the City to the Treatment Plant. This pipe is called a "force main". It is 36 to 42 inches in diameter and approximately 8 miles long. The largest of the 5 force main stations is located north of the I-80 bridge at the Missouri River. It handles about 75% of the City's waste stream and has a pumping capacity of 30 million gallons per day. At nearly 30 feet deep with 5 major pumps, this station today would cost over $5 million to replace.