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MPCA Commissioner Visits and Tours WLSSD

Updated: May 02, 2018 08:29 PM

"Community wastewater operators all over the state, are the unsung heroes of clean water." That's praise coming from the commissioner of the MPCA, John Linc Stine.

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He was visiting and touring WLSSD on Wednesday. "It was a really great tour."

The plant is nearly 40 years old. So leadership is always looking at repairs and upgrades. They were able to point some out to the commissioner on Wednesday.

"I think he was impressed, and we were able to talk about some of our capital projects that we have completed and the ones that are upcoming," shared Marianne Bohren, Executive Director of WLSSD.

One of the projects they are working on is replacing the oxygen generation plant, which will reduce costs and electrical needs. And speaking of electricity, their combined heat and power project would harness the power of two engine generators.

"That would allow us to take the biogas we make on site, and turn it into electricity. Our goal is to be energy self-sufficient. It's good from an environmental standpoint, cost standpoint, and resiliency standpoint," Bohren added.

They are hopeful that their $5.28 million dollar bonding request to help pay for those generators comes through this year at the legislature.

Commissioner Linc Stine said Governor Mark Dayton knows the importance of this kind of project. "The governor wants to make sure the state steps up and provides meaningful financial support for infrastructure improvements for clean water around the state."

He added that grant money is the most helpful type of funding for communities. "Loans mean debt service, and many communities can't afford more of it."

Meanwhile, they are working on innovative and creative new ways to invest in infrastructure, that stretch the dollars available.

Linc Stine also met with Duluth Mayor Emily Larson and visited the wastewater treatment facility in Moose Lake on Wednesday.

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