This water sewer plant is about 1/4 mile from vacant rural lot I own. With no particular weekly pattern I occasional hear what sounds like a large generator or pump faintly in the distance.

From this image, can somebody explain what they might be doing there? Does it appear that any waste or sludge is being reintroduced back into soil in those two dry ponds?

I have not tested the water yet, planning to , but how safe for contact with human skin (not drinking) can I expect a shallow well to be a 1/4 mile away from this plant?

It's in central Florida, please do not ask me for detail on the location.

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update: here's another picture: enter image description here

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Many sources explain how water is treated, google is your friend. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 17, 2020 at 6:54
  • $\begingroup$ read a few, but not clear why so small a plant and in some cases bi-products are transported. Also I see no big tanks and wonder about pond like shapes. $\endgroup$
    – Hell.Bent
    Dec 17, 2020 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ You shouldn’t be surprised how much waste goes through even a tiny sewage plant...people throw a lot of waste in their water. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2020 at 16:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ They are all licensed and inspected. Contact the county's water and sewer inspector. Many are inspected by third party contractors, but the basic facts of what it does and who does it are on the permit. They are normally visited by a service contractor about once a week who tidies things, tests all the pumps and aerators, and monitors the tank levels. They usually need their timing and chemistry tweaked for different seasons. $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Dec 17, 2020 at 22:20
  • $\begingroup$ I'm 1200 feet away and am using 12ft deep shallow well for showering. when i put my ear to the 1-1/4 inch well i can hear what i think is man made activities. safe? Im planning to test the water professionally when I'm up next time. $\endgroup$
    – Hell.Bent
    Dec 24, 2020 at 17:06

2 Answers 2


Looks like a wastewater treatment plant, there are a few different ways water can be treated. If you're not in a large metro area the plant doesn't need to be too large. Water comes into one pool, gets treated, pumped to the next, treated again, and so on until the water is clean enough to be introduced to local waterways. There is also solid organic matter that doesn't completely break down quickly, so it's removed from the ponds and usually dumped close by (like the brown mounds with tire tracks in your pic).

There should be no issue with the groundwater. The wastewater plant in my town is next to a large river that people swim in. Besides the smell, there is no issue. Water treatment plants are heavily regulated so you should be fine, although all bets are off with Florida.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. see updated sat image. what do you think happens to mounds once it's dried up? You don't think that sewage seeping into the ground water? I am wondering where they deposit the treated water? I'm a 1/4 mile away and I smell nothing. $\endgroup$
    – Hell.Bent
    Dec 24, 2020 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ Also FYI those two circles with tracks are 10 feet below surrounding land so it's like they are ponds . Any chance treated water is dumped there? $\endgroup$
    – Hell.Bent
    Dec 24, 2020 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ also wondering why I would only hear noises from the plant once in a while. I've not made the connection, but seem to only run after heavy rains. I did run into somebody who works there who said it was a sewage plant. $\endgroup$
    – Hell.Bent
    Dec 24, 2020 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ the other odd thing is that every lot around there for 10+ miles has septic. $\endgroup$
    – Hell.Bent
    Dec 24, 2020 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ Once the mounds are dried enough they are probably sent to a landfill. I'm not an expert on the regulations but there shouldn't be any raw sewage getting into the ground water. The treated water is typically introduced into local waterways. Usually pumped directly from the last treatment pond. Treated water could be dumped in the ponds in your 2nd comment. If you only hear equipment noises after heavy rains and everyone around has septic this is probably a storm water treatment plant. It still needs to be treated. $\endgroup$
    – jko
    Jan 4, 2021 at 12:59

This is a bit speculative on my part, But I think what's going on here is this:

Hard to see from the pictures.

The concrete tructure on the right, It could be some mechanical treatment or mechanical tgreatment plus aeration (I'm not sure if I see bubbles in the upper left basin)

The patch of ground on the left:

  • At first I thought constructed wetlands, but then there should be more greenery and less tire tracks.
  • You write the circles are about 3m below ground, I'd assume the patches are either attenuation ponds who happen to be always dry (though I don't see any overflow structure to empty the ponds).
  • The next option would be groundwater infiltration, infiltration ditches for stormwater I've seen looked like approximately so.

It may be that your hear noises when the level in a pump sump reaches a certain point and a pump activates. Constructed wetlands are doused with wastewater intermittently for process reasons (the distribution hose can be buried).

You could check the following:

  • If wastewater treatment, is it domestic wastewater or something else? Fi
  • Is there an ope body of water nearby into which the WWTP discharges, or could discharge via a buried pipeline?
  • Are there any official and up -to-date statements about groundwater quality in your area availible - this could give you an indication without paying for the analysis yourself
  • Is your well upstream or downstream of the plant? (Often groundwater follows the surface morphology - but that is far from assured)
  • $\begingroup$ To the north is 150 acres cattle ranch with a 1/4 mile x 100 foot pond a 1/2 mile away. There is a large lake 2 miles away across a major state road. On all other sides is residential lots most of which are vacant. No evidence of run off or wetlands around the plant. The roads around the plant are really bad and narrow dirt trails. The code on the plant is 5071 - SEWER PLANTS. Water analysis i was told would only be $50. I'm not next to the plant and there is no upstream or downstream . Doubt there is anything anywhere on ground water testing. I'm adding another picture. $\endgroup$
    – Hell.Bent
    Dec 26, 2020 at 11:32
  • $\begingroup$ To me it would seem there are no pipes of any kind underground. $\endgroup$
    – Hell.Bent
    Dec 26, 2020 at 11:39
  • $\begingroup$ I am wondering if maybe the plant is being used to process sucked up septic waste? Or maybe algae growth from lakes or agricultural waste water? There are large orange groves a few miles away. $\endgroup$
    – Hell.Bent
    Dec 26, 2020 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ Re. your latest picture, the water body in the upper left corner, how deep is it and where are inflows and outlfows? With the last information you added, my best bet would be mechanical tgreatment + groundwater infiltration - still not a very good bet. $\endgroup$
    – mart
    Jan 2, 2021 at 21:07

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