Saturday, May 25, 2024
HomeAppleton Concerned TaxpayersSession 4 of the 2024 Appleton Citizens Academy

Session 4 of the 2024 Appleton Citizens Academy

Department of Utilities
Water Treatment Plant

Session 4 of the 2024 Citizens Academy was held on April 4 at the Appleton Water Treatment Facility, 2281 Manitowoc Road.

The motto of Appleton’s Water Treatment facility since its purchase from a private provider:

“Reliable, High Quality, Drinking Water Services since 1912”

Appleton pays the state of Wisconsin $10,000 annually to draw water out of Lake Winnebago.  The Lake Winnebago watershed encompasses about 6,700 square miles. City officials work with state agencies to plan two six-month drawdown plans from the lake to properly manage this important resource.

Designed in 2001 to be a regional treatment plant that would sell water to surrounding communities, the Water Treatment plant currently provides water to the approximately 100,000 residents of Appleton, the Village of Harrison, and Towns of Sherwood and Grand Chute. The plant has a capacity of 24 million gallons per day and currently processes approximately 10 million gallons of chemical-free “stable water” (PH about 8.8) daily.

The plant was designed to be a “Challenge Plant,” meaning that it is large enough to be divided into two separate operating units. That makes it possible to do major maintenance without service disruptions and, more importantly, foster innovation in the water treatment process.

A standout improvement was the switching from the use of the original “membrane” method of water disinfection to ultraviolet light, saving $3 million to $4 million in upkeep and replacement costs. A second savings was realized when the DNR mandated a second intake line from the lake. Appleton converted a finishing line into the second intake, saving the city more than $4 million.

Appleton’s Water Utilities consist of three parts: Water Treatment, Waste Water, and Storm Water. Each is a self-sufficient utility funded entirely by user fees. Water Treatment and Waste Water fees are overseen by the State Public Service Commission, while the Storm Water Utility fees are set by the city.

Forty-three employees staff the Water Treatment and Waste Water Utilities 24 hours a day throughout the year. It takes about two years to fully train an employee; five staff openings are currently being recruited. Water quality is checked every two hours. Appleton touts the “lowest Water Utility rates in the Valley,” and water coming out of the waste water plant is cleaner than the water in Lake Winnebago.

Thank you to Operations Supervisor John Pogrant and Technical Services Manager Mike Suha, presenters for our two-hour tour of Appleton’s Water Treatment Plant. They exhibited pride in the facility and their service to the population of Appleton.

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