By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — Residents in Wausau will see their water bills increase by an estimated $144 per year to fund a proposed $80 million upgrade to the city’s wastewater treatment facility, which serves Wausau, Schofield and the industrial park in the village of Weston.

The city has contracted with Sheboygan-based Donohue and Associates for preliminary design services, which is expected to cost $1,113,875. The upgrades are meant to enhance safety, reliability and performance for the facility, which was constructed in three phases beginning in 1939.

Wastewater treatment facilities that discharge to Wisconsin water bodies, such as Wausau’s, are regulated by the Department of Natural Resources through the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. Wausau’s current permit, required because of discharge to the Wisconsin River, expired on Dec. 30, 2015, according to city documents. The next permit will include a low-level phosphorous limit that the current facility is not equipped to comply with.

Wausau first retained Donohue and local partner Becher Hoppe in April 2017 to perform facility planning and develop a 20-year plan to address safety, capacity and regulatory compliance concerns. Together, the two companies completed a comprehensive evaluation of more than 90 alternatives to address Wausau’s needs before narrowing the alternatives down to five.

The final recommended plan aims to include potential that will expand the service area over the next 20 years that could include services for the villages of Brokaw, Maine and Marathon City.

The overall plan includes building three new structures, modifying several others, replacing aging equipment and replacing the electrical service and emergency power system, according to Donohue’s proposal.

Donohue will serve as lead design consultant while Becher Hoppe and Samuels Group are named as design subconsultants for the project.

A meeting of the Wausau Water Works Commission is set for 1:30 p.m. June 26 at City Hall.

5 replies on “City considers $80M wastewater treatment facility upgrade, rate hike”

  1. Just this last month (over a few months avg) my water bill went up approximately $14. Since purchasing my house back in ’03, this makes my Wausau water bill a monthly increase of roughly $30 per month. Now it’s going to go up another $12 PER MONTH?
    “Services” will also expand to Brokaw, the town of Maine and Marathon City? Umm… does Marathon City get their water now and how have they been getting it for the past……oh…..100 yrs?? Is there going to be some gigantic pipeline going from the Water treatment facility in Wausau to downtown Marathon?
    Is there ANY way to get these answers from our dog ‘n pony show masquerading as a city government directly, other than NOT being able to attend a meeting that’s in the middle of a work week day? Probably not, but the city manages to have enough taxpayer money to spend $3 MILLION dollars on a one acre city park that approximately 2% of the population will use.

    1. My bad… Need to work on my reading comprehension skills. Wastewater disposal, NOT actually providing water… it. I’d still love to know why the city of Wausau is on a “20 yr plan” to do wastewater management for Brokaw, Town of Maine and Marathon City.

  2. Never understood the dynamics of all theses independent towns, villages and cities with Marathon county as the umbrella and for some reason the City of Wausau leads all others?
    Let them build it in Schofield and let us have the Concert at the country club. I am not sure why Wausau is the motherly figure for all these independent entities when it is convenient to keep their expenses down.
    Instead of Wausome let’s call it Wausochist.

  3. Brokaw has all the excess capacity now since the defunked paper mill. Why not let Brokaw Town of Maine become the regional hub. I thought new pipes from Brokaw go down to Evergreen Rd so could connect then with Wausau. I would trust a regional water/waste water commission more than Wausau staff/commission/council who just spend, spend, spend! Shereen can you check this out?

    Let Wausau focus on upgrading lead pipes and let Brokaw/Town of Maine handle the rest IMHO.

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