City proceeds with generator to stop sewage overflows

Backup power system required by DNR to cost Port as much as $400,000
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Power outages have caused the Port Washington wastewater plant to bypass three times in the past 18 months when trees fell on power lines, cutting both primary and secondary power to the plant.

So Tuesday the Board of Public Works hired Donohue to engineer a generator for the plant at a cost of $29,500.

“We have to get one according to the Department of Natural Resources,” Wastewater Supt. Dan Buehler said.

The DNR sent the city a notice of noncompliance due to the issue in August, noting the plant had bypassed 570,000 gallons of sewage during outages on July 19, 2019, and Sept. 5, 2018, and an additional 145,000 gallons at lift station one on July 18, 2019.

The overflows at the plant occurred because dead ash trees fell on the power lines, the DNR stated.

“These lines are close together along the bike path, thereby increasing the risk of a complete power outage to the plant,” the notice states.

Another 300,000 gallons of sewage was sent into the lake in December after both primary and secondary power to the plant went down when a large willow tree fell on the lines.

“We always used to have backup power available. Backup power was very dependable,” Buehler said at the time. “Something’s changed. In the last three or four years, it seems like both sources (of power) go down.”

He reiterated that on Tuesday.

“We really don’t have it (backup power) anymore. A tree goes down, we’re out of power,” he said.

Buehler, who noted that money for the engineering work is in this year’s budget, estimated that the diesel generator will cost between $300,000 and $400,000.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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