Waldo waste plant exceeds expectations

by Abby Lynn Harvey of The Review staff

WALDO - The wastewater treatment plant, which caused much controversy in Waldo during its planning stages, has been up and running for just over a year and is performing better than expected, Integrity Engineering representative Jack Mentink reported to the Village Board at their Monday evening meeting.

The plant, which began full operations in March 2012, has been recording consistently favorable measurements which fall well within the limits placed on such a facility.

“This treatment plant produces effluent that is just out of this world,” Mentink said. “It’s amazingly well purified. It does a really really good job. We probably have 10 or 12 of these in operation, all in warmer climates. Wisconsin is a little tougher climate because it’s colder here and they don’t always do as well here. None of them produce as good of effluent as the Waldo facility produces.”

Mentink shared with the board and residents in attendance several charts displaying various reading.

First, Mentink reported the pH of the effluent is well within the allowed limit. The Waldo plant produces effluent with a pH level between 7.42 and 7.11. The allowable limit is between 6 and 9.

“You want (the pH) to be relatively close to neutral, it’s always going to be a little bit more on the high side,” he said.

Next, Mentink addressed the average daily influent flow which was at a high this April at 138,000 gallons and a low in September 2012 at 28,800. These reading are about par for a facility in this area, which sees a large increases in influent during the spring thaw.

“Always, your March and April are going to be your highest two months, usually they are,” he said.

The ammonia reading started out high when the plant was just starting operations, which is typical as it takes some time for the bacteria which battles ammonia output to grow. Since the first month of operation the ammonia levels have been between .285 and 1.22 with the upper limit on ammonia output being 19.

“This thing is just unbelievable,” Mentink said. “You only had one reading above one, during the whole time it’s operating.”

Measurements of suspended solids in the effluent range between 6.83 and 2.75 with an upper limit being 30.

BOD5 (the organic content of the effluent) discharge numbers register around 3-5 with an upper output limit being 25.

“Obviously when wastewater comes into the treatment plant it has a lot of organic content,” Mentink said. “That’s the main thing your treatment plant is supposed to do is knock that organic content way down because you don’t want to discharge organic content into the river because that steals oxygen”

The consistently low records for the plant could save the village some money on an annual basis, he said.

“The nice thing about this is you guys pay on your operating permit based on the amount of pollutants that you discharge, so because the quality is so high it save you money every year on your operating permit,” Mentink said.

Mentink also addressed the inflow of the plant. Prior to the treatment plant being built the village did extensive work to improve the sewer system, plug leaks and prevent ground water from entering the sewer system.

“You still do have a problem,” Mentink said, “but not near as bad a problem as you had.”

Average daily flows before the repairs were roughly 65,000 gallons. Post-repair that figure has dropped to 42,825 gallons per day.

“Overall, it’s a positive thing,” Mentink said of the village’s sewer system and treatment plant. “I know it brought a lot of unrest in the community, because obviously there was a lot of money spent, but good things happened by it and good things are going to continue happening going forward. It’s going to meet your needs for many years to come.”

Beyond favorable readings Mentink stated that he believes that all the goals the village had in mind when planning for the new treatment plant have been met.

“When the village employed Integrity Engineering they gave us three directives on the treatment plant,” Mentink said.

The first, he said, was that the plant would be economical to build.

“Of course those terms are somewhat relative,” he said. “Obviously with a treatment plant or a whole facility it’s going to be a lot of money, but they wanted it economical.”

The second directive was that the facility be economical to operate, which Mentink believes to be the case.

“The third directive was; we want the facility to be not overly complex so it could be operated easily and you wouldn’t have to employ super-skilled people to have to do it,” he said, later stating that operating the plant takes an average of 10-15 hours a week, which is in line with the desires of the board during planning.

“We’ve now operated the facility for almost a year and a half and I can just report back to the board that the facility has fulfilled those recommendations that you made to me as your engineer,” he stated.

Also discussed was the dam compliance. It has been concluded that the mill pond is nearly double the allowed limit to avoid a dam failure analysis. A DNR-supplied list of recommended engineers was provided and the board will continue discussing the future of the dam in the coming months.

The need for work on the Village Hall roof was also discussed and the board heard three options for improvement. The project will be held over until the next budget cycle.

The next meeting of the Waldo Village board will be held June 10 at 7 p.m.

Most recent cover pages:

POLL: Do you think Elkhart Lake made the right decision in not allowing Strawberry the pot-bellied pig?:

Copyright 2009-2018 The Plymouth Review, All Rights Reserved

Contact Information

113 E. Mill St., Plymouth WI 53073
Local: 920-893-6411 Toll Free: 1-877-467-6591
Fax: 920-893-5505

Sundance Farm Campground