LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – City leaders in La Crosse are hoping to make waste operations more environmentally friendly and cost efficient. First News at Nine’s Alex Loroff describes the changes being made to the city’s wastewater treatment facility.
The City of La Crosse is investing millions of dollars into improving wastewater treatment in the Coulee Region.
Ground was broken Tuesday on a $68 million infrastructure reinvestment for the City’s Wastewater Treatment Facility.
The site serves the City of La Crosse as well as Onalaska, La Crescent, Shelby, and Campbell.
La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds says the project is the epitome of regional collaboration.
“Wastewater treatment benefits from the economies of scale,” Reynolds said. “What we’re doing here today not only to meet stiffer requirements for contaminants and dealing with those, but also increasing efficiency and increasing sustainability, these types of things are not possible on smaller scales.”
The plant was built in 1936, with its last major upgrade coming in 1972.
Smaller improvements have been made over the years, but La Crosse Utilities Manager Bernie Lenz says the time is now for a larger expansion.
“It gets to the point where you can’t just piecemeal the little projects anymore,” Lenz added. “36 years for the first upgrade, 49 years for the second upgrade, and here we are doing it today that this is going to be a legacy project that lasts several lifetimes.”
The project will include improvements for regulatory changes, future capacity, and flood resiliency.
The site is also expected to achieve energy neutrality through the upgrades.
“We are positioning ourselves with this facility upgrade towards the future of incredible levels of sustainability and efficiency, but also helping us to meet our goals of carbon neutrality and greater use of renewable energy,” Reynolds expressed.
C.D. Smith Construction is helming the project, which is expected to take at least three years to complete.
In La Crosse, Alex Loroff, First News at Nine.
The facility provides services to the city of La Crosse as well as its municipal partners of La Crescent, Campbell, Shelby, and Onalaska.