Beaver Dam Mayor Discusses Phosphorus Control Options

11/13/17 – The mayor of Beaver Dam says she is intrigued by a plan to generate revenue while also satisfying state and federal mandates to limit the phosphorus that goes into the river from the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Beaver Dam is studying four options to build a multi-million-dollar addition to its new treatment plant to better control phosphorus output. Three of the options carry a price tag in the ballpark of $15-million dollars. A fourth option is over $24-million-dollar but it would generate revenue. That more expensive option would take phosphorus from wastewater and convert it to a biomass that can be turned into a plastic-like pellet. The pellets have industrial uses and could be sold. That revenue, combined with a plan that would allow other communities to use the facility, could generate up to $1-million dollars a year for the city. The Common Council last week entered into a non-binding letter of intent with Clearas Water Recovery Incorporated to further explore the option. Mayor Becky Glewen told us recently on WBEV’s Community Comment that the science is exciting and looks promising. The council last week raised concerns about the possibility of revenues coming in below projections. “The interesting part is that it would be guaranteed,” Glewen says, “the investors are interested in saying ‘we will give you a guarantee that we will buy so much at this cost and it will generate this much income’ and they’re talking a million a year over 20 years, that’s the piece that really intrigues me.” She says there is some hesitation but if the city is getting a guarantee it is definitely worth researching to make sure the option is “on the up-and-up.” The common council last week agreed to spend $50-thousand dollars for a study of all four options while, at the same time, specifically explore the most expensive, revenue-generating option.  Under the terms of the DNR settlement, the new multi-million-dollar facility will have to be complete in six years.