WLSSD board approves 2019 budgets

Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) Board of Directors approved its 2019 operating and capital budgets at its Board meeting last night. The Board approved a 0% increase in solid waste management fees and a 1.06% average increase in wastewater rates.

The budget for the regional wastewater system includes significant capital investments in the wastewater treatment process, most notably a $10.56 million project to install generators that will produce electricity and heat for the use in the wastewater treatment plant. The generators will use “biogas”—a methane-rich gas produced during wastewater treatment.

“We’re pleased to be moving forward with our clean energy projects,” said WLSSD executive director Marianne Bohren. “Wastewater treatment is energy-intensive. As energy costs rise, it’s critical that we make full use of our resources to hold wastewater charges down. Our ability to convert biogas into electricity will help control costs and will benefit the region environmentally. This is an exciting opportunity to maximize the value WLSSD brings to our region.”

The WLSSD Board of Directors also approved a 0% increase in solid waste management fees collected to support solid waste programs and services like WLSSD’s Materials Recovery Center, Household Hazardous Waste Facility, Yard Waste Compost Site, and reuse, recycling and education programs.

“Continued attention to quality, service and cost has allowed us to grow our solid waste facilities and services without increasing solid waste management fees. Our 2019 solid waste budget includes capital improvements that will support our growing solid waste operations,” continued Bohren. “We continue to invest and plan for quality and service as we manage the increasing demand for services at busy and popular disposal and recycling sites. The continued growth of these programs is indicative of the region’s commitment to reducing waste, recovering value from “waste” and properly managing materials that can be harmful.”

Celebrating 40 years of operations in 2018, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District provides award-winning wastewater and solid waste services within a 530 square mile service area and is a nationally recognized leader in pollution prevention. Governed by a nine-member citizen board, WLSSD is a special purpose subdivision of the State of Minnesota. Its legislative service area includes the cities of Duluth, Cloquet, Carlton, Scanlon, Wrenshall, Hermantown, Proctor, Rice Lake and Thomson; and the rural townships of Silverbrook, Thomson, Twin Lakes, Canosia, Duluth, Grand Lake, Lakewood, Midway and Solway.