Waupun Utility Reducing Phosphorus With $37 Million In Grants, Loans

(Waupun) The city of Waupun has secured $37-million dollars in federal grants and loans to address water and wastewater infrastructure. The bulk of the funding from the USDA, $33-million dollars, will be used to reduce phosphorus in their wastewater treatment facility. Roughly $9.5-million dollars is grant funding while the remainder is a low-interest loan.

The Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Natural Resources are requiring waterfront communities like Waupun to place strict limits on the phosphorus that is released into local waterways, in this case the Rock River by 2025. Waupun Utilities is considering two options to meet requirements.

The frontrunner would be an Advanced Biological Nutrient Recovery system from Clearas Water Recovery Incorporated. That is the same company and system that Beaver Dam is considering as they work to address the same phosphorus reduction mandates.

Waupun Public Utilities Finance Director Jared Oosterhouse says the nutrient recovery system would generate revenue for a municipality by taking phosphorus from wastewater and converting it to an algae-based biomass that can be sold for a profit to defray costs.

The other option being considered is a mechanical filtration process that, while initially costing less, will have higher operating costs and no chance of revenue.

Waupun’s current wastewater treatment facility was constructed in 1951. Since that time, the facility has received three upgrades with the most recent occurring in 2002. The design engineering phase of the project will begin next year with project bidding and construction anticipated in the final quarter of 2020. The upgraded facility is expected to be fully operational in 2023.

Waupun was also awarded $4-million dollars in loans to address water distribution and storm water collection system infrastructure.