Updated Dubuque Water Treatment Center Opens

October  03, 2013

"It's not waste until it's wasted." That's the unofficial motto for the newly-renovated Water and Resource Recovery Center in Dubuque. A ribbon cutting was held Thursday for the $65 million improvement project.

Manager Jonathan Brown says the facility used to be called the Water Pollution Control Plant, but has since outgrown that title.

"We're doing more than cleaning the water, which is our primary job," said Brown. "We're also extracting energy and usable material from that waste water. Hence the phrase recovery, resource recovery center."

Some of that material includes sewage sludge that can be used by farmers as fertilizer.  Brown says two of the main goals of the upgraded plant include sustainability and energy-reduction.

"We generate methane of course in the digestion process," said Brown. "That methane is then cleaned, and we use that for heating the digesters. And also, we're installing three 200 KW microturbines that'll be able to generate up to 600 kw of electricity in a combined heat and power system."

The new Water and Resource Recovery Center in Dubuque serves nearly 23-thousand customers, treating nearly 10 million gallons of waste water every day.

This is the largest capital improvement project in Dubuque's history. and it's funded through the state's revolving loan fund.