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Wastewater Planning and Permit Negotiations

Client: City of Faribault, Minnesota

Location: City of Faribault, Minnesota

The City of Faribault is a rapidly growing community of approximately 20,000 people and home to two large food production industries. The City’s wastewater treatment facility was facing new effluent limits for phosphorus and ammonia, and was concerned about future, more stringent limits. Donohue developed a 20-year Facilities Plan, which evaluated a host of alternatives to comply with future, more stringent effluent limits, age-related deficiencies, and growth. 

Armed with the cost to comply with future warm- and cold-weather ammonia limits, the City and Donohue negotiated with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to find a lower-cost alternative. The MPCA ultimately agreed to remove a future ammonia limit if the City were to define a feasible upgrade scenario that does not (excluding the disinfection system) alter the existing treatment facility processes. The City and Donohue developed such an alternative, avoiding the expensive proposition of meeting new limits and reducing the construction cost by approximately $25 million.

The City elected to proceed with the following alternative: overhaul the existing roughing-filter activated sludge system and add chemical phosphorus removal and UV disinfection. Other improvements included a new administration building, new electrical service and generator building, a new waste activated sludge building, preliminary treatment improvements, primary settling improvements, anaerobic digester improvements, hauled-in waste receiving, a plant-wide SCADA system, and upgrades to the existing control building. Donohue designed the recommended improvements and the new facilities have been operational since 2011.