Wastewater plant tackles treatment issue

Officials work to solve mystery of missing water pumped from village wells
Ozaukee Press Staff

Call it the mystery of the missing water.

The Village of Fredonia wastewater treatment plant is treating far less water — millions of gallons — than it pumps from its wells and steps must be taken to stem the flow, officials say.

Village Public Works Director Roger Strohm  told the Village Board last week that, for the year, the village pumped 66.86 million gallons but only 57.49 million gallons were treated, a difference of 9.37 million gallons or 14%.

“Our meters at municipal supply wells tell us how much we’re pumping and then meters at people’s homes tell us how much we’re using,” Strohm said. “After our meter reading each quarter they should be relatively the same.”

Industry standards allow for a 10% disparity in the two amounts, but the village  saw differences as high as 20% in the first quarter of 2018, Strohm said.  

In the summer, it’s typical that less water flows through the treatment plant when people water lawns and gardens, wash cars and construction season is in full swing, Strohm said.

Water also is lost whenever hydrants are flushed, there’s a water main break or heavy rains cause overflows. But those are normal factors with which every municipality’s water treatment system contends, he said.

The likely culprits for the higher-than-normal loss are main sewer  lines and house laterals, which connect homes and businesses to the main sewer line, which were built before 1980 and are made from clay, concrete or cast iron and  lose water through joints and cracks, Strohm said.

In response, the village has launched an effort to line those pipes with a plastic, or PVC, liner that would prevent those loses.

The liner is collapsed and inserted into the pipes, then inflated inside the pipe. Steam is shot into the line, which causes the plastic liner to adhere to the interior wall.

The village has already completed that task on many of its main village-owned sewer lines, but plans call for doing the same on private laterals. That effort will start with the reconstruction of Edmaro Street this year.

While the street is being reconstructed, a liner will be inserted in the sewer line there and also in house laterals.

“There are four PVC laterals, which the village does not anticipate replacing, but there are 13 others that are either clay or black iron,” Strohm said. “Plus there’s another house that has a break that needs replacing.”

Plans call for doing the same on other streets, Strohm said. 

“It’s going to be a  slow process,” he said.



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Ozaukee Press

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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