The city council decided that the city would be better served to invest in a new wastewater facility than to upgrade its existing facility in order to comply with the terms of the DNR’s phosphorous removal requirements. The new plant will employ a biological phosphorous removal process that will limit the presence of phosphorous in the wastewater to one part per million, a considerable improvement in terms of environmental impact from the existing facility, which uses a chemical treatment process and only achieves the standard of 3.5 parts per million.
The new facility will employ a variety of other “green” processes that will limit environmental impact and make for a cleaner discharge of wastewater into the Wisconsin River. Rather than using chlorine, it will use ultra-violet lamps to disinfect the water of viruses and bacteria. The new facility’s bio-active phosphorous removal process will rely on heat generated from the methane produced in the process, saving energy costs. The facility will also create a solid-waste by-product that will qualify as Class A sludge, a material that can be mixed with top soil for use as a fertilizer. The project was funded through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA).