Edgerton wastewater treatment plant construction to begin this summer

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Jake Magee
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

EDGERTON—After more than 30 years, Edgerton will get a much-needed upgrade to its wastewater treatment plant.

The $11 million project, which begins by the end of summer and wraps up by the end of 2016, will allow the city to expand while meeting stricter wastewater regulations.

The biggest motivator for the upgrade is the plant's age. Replacement of failing sewer mains and other smaller improvements increased its life expectancy by several years, but the facility is due for an overhaul, City Administrator Ramona Flanigan said.

“It's mechanically failing. The plant was a 20-year plant, and it was built in '80,” she said. “Many of the major components are failing because they're well beyond their life.”

While part of the plant will remain, most of it will be replaced, she said.

New construction includes the addition of grit removal, activated sludge treatment, ultraviolet disinfection and chemical feed systems, according to a city news release. The upgrade will add a service building, additional sludge digester and backup generator.

The most recent modification to the Department of Natural Resources' wastewater regulations concerns phosphorus discharge. The discharge limit in Edgerton is generous enough that the city might be able to meet the regulations for a bit longer, Flanigan said, but the new plant will make meeting limits much easier.

Through the overhaul, the outdated sewage treatment process will switch to a more current one, utility director Randy Oren said.

“It's a new treatment process,” Flanigan said. “The old tech is being replaced with new tech.”

The existing plant uses chemicals to treat phosphorus to meet regulations. The new plant will treat phosphorus biologically, Oren said.

“We're bumping up against some limits from the DNR that we have to take care of,” he said. “This type of plant is better for industry.”

The city made the decision months ago to accept a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Services Agency. Edgerton will take out a $7.8 million loan to cover the remaining cost at a 3.25 percent interest rate payable over 40 years.

To help pay for the plant work, the city council approved a 3 percent rate increase for sewer utility users—the first one since 2011. The average residential user of 12,000 gallons per quarter will see a $2.52 increase per quarter. A large residential user of 20,000 gallons per quarter will see an increase of $4.20 per quarter, according to the news release.

The new facility will process more types of waste, which will attract new businesses, according to the release. It will have a greater capacity, too, allowing for future growth.

“It's going to allow us to expand naturally, and I think it'll provide a better type of process that's more conducive to industry because there are some industries we couldn't process right now,” Oren said. “It certainly will be better for industry and residential also.”

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