The city of La Crosse is looking into a renovation of its wastewater treatment plant, aimed at reducing one type of water pollution.
The entire project at the treatment plant might cost up to $40 million.
Even though water utility managers admitted Monday to the city’s public works board that a multi-million dollar cost sounds scary, they argue that the expense is spread out among 85,000 users in the La Crosse area.
The Board of Public Works did give the water utility permission to apply for government ‘Clean Water’ funding of $1-2 million that could help pay for a phosphorus reduction plan.
Utility manager Bernie Lenz says it’s a good time for the city to do that project.
“We have no debt,” Lenz said at Monday morning’s meeting. “We paid off all of our previous improvements. It’s been a long time since we’ve done anything to the plant. It’s just our time to do those improvements.”
While the main goal for the funding is to cut down on phosphorus levels going to the river, Lenz says there may also be efforts to use methane for energy.
“Looking at using the methane to then heat the digesters, improve the digster heaters and take the waste energy from that, to do that and actually burn it to produce electricity,” Lenz said Monday morning meeting with the city’s Board of Public Works, which approved the application.
A plan for construction at the wastewater plant could be submitted to the city council by March.