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Booming City Brewery means extra sewage treatment capacity need



City Brewery is already the source of the largest amount of waste into La Crosse’s sewage treatment plant. Now it’s getting bigger.

City Brewery is seeing big production increases and it is causing some problems, which means increases in waste coming from the plant.

Too much waste, according to a Wisconsin DNR permit, and potentially too much for the current La Crosse treatment plant capacity, says water utility manager Bernard Lenz.

“If they don’t treat it, then it gets sent down to our plant,” Lenz said. “Our plant can handle it, and treat it, and still discharge clean water. But our plant is reaching our limits on the front end.”

Lenz says City Brewery and the treatment plant have to make some adjustments.

“Production is good for the city but it’s meeting the capacity of their existing plant,” Lenz said. “Their plant is maxed out right now for what it can treat.”

The city’s Board of Public Works has agreed to temporarily increase the limits of the amount waste flowing into the plant from the brewery.

Lenz says that will give the brewery time to figure out how to deal with the extra flow over the long term, because the permit violations and the amount of waste coming into the city plant aren’t sustainable

“It could be that they expand their plant and do efficiencies at their plant and that’s enough,” Lenz said. “Or we need to do something on our end. We need to add more storage to be able to handle the solids.”

Public Works has approved a 54 percent increase in the monthly average of solid waste coming from the brewery into the city plant.

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