Wastewater, water staff work to keep public healthy

MUSCATINE, Iowa – The week of August 16-22, 2020, has been proclaimed “Water and Wastewater Workers of Iowa Week” by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds with cities and towns across the state honoring those workers in the water and wastewater industry for their daily environmental work in keeping Iowans and the Iowa environment safe and healthy.

Storm water and sewage are processed through the City of Muscatine Water and Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) while water is provided by Muscatine Power & Water (MPW), a municipal utility that also provides electric and communication services to the City of Muscatine and surrounding areas.

The City of Muscatine is proud of the dedication, expertise, and work ethic of those who strive to preserve and protect public health through the treatment of wastewater, through the delivery of quality drinking water to residences and businesses, and through the promotion of sustainable programs to protect natural resources.

The WRRF, formerly the Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP), collects wastewater from homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities throughout Muscatine, and “cleans” the water so that it can be safely discharged into the Mississippi River. The WRRF also takes in wastewater hauled to the facility by private contractors from septic systems throughout the county, providing another service to keep Muscatine County residents healthy.

Wastewater within the city is transported through a series of pipes, known as the collection system, to the WRRF for treatment. There are 21 pumping, or lift, stations located throughout Muscatine, and maintained by the WRRF, that assist in the movement of the wastewater. The largest of these is the Papoose Creek Lift Station located in Riverside Park on the banks of the Mississippi River. This lift station is the main collection point for the storm and sewer systems, pumping the wastewater on a two mile journey through the force main pipes to the WRRF.

The activated sludge treatment plant at the WRRF performs a filtration process in its large tanks similar to what occurs in nature to remove organic material. One of the byproducts of this process is the creation of primarily organic materials known as biosolids that can be applied to farm fields. The City of Muscatine has a Land Application Program and currently applies 4.5 million gallons of biosolids on 550 acres in Muscatine County.

Another byproduct is the creation of methane gas. This gas is produced by decomposing organic material in landfills, but is a greenhouse gas and harmful to the environment. The WRRF usually burns off the methane gas but recently began development of a new program that will take food waste and turn it into compressed natural gas.

The WRRF opened the Muscatine Organic Recycling Center at the Muscatine Transfer Station earlier this year, taking in food waste from grocery stores and food manufacturers, depackaging the products, and feeding the material to the anaerobic digesters at the WRRF to create methane gas and biosolids. This process keeps the food waste out to the landfill and, in the future, will be part of the conversion process to make compressed natural gas.

For more information, visit the WRRF page on the City of Muscatine web site.

We say thanks to the Muscatine Wastewater Team:

  • Jon Koch                           Water & Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) Director
  • Beth Lanfier                     Office Coordinator
  • Scott Swift                        Environmental Coordinator/Operations Supervisor
  • Clint Williams                  Lift Station Leadworker
  • Sheldon Fry                      Lift Station / Plant Mechanic
  • Jim Allen                           Biosolids/HSW Leadworker
  • Steve Brereton                Mechanic/Biosolids Crew
  • Dean Schlapkohl             Treatment Plant Mechanic / HSW / Biosolids
  • Matt Bolt                          Treatment Plant Mechanic / HSW / Biosolids
  • John Swails                      Treatment Plant Mechanic / HSW / Biosolids
  • Kenton Hitchcock            Treatment Plant Mechanic / HSW / Biosolids
  • Mike Johnson                  Operator
  • Jimi Berry                         Operator
  • Kalli Anson                       Operator
  • David Boysen                   Treatment Plant Mechanic
  • Matthew (Jim) Fox         Plant Maintenance Manager
  • Patti Fuller-Bloechl         Chemist/Lab Supervisor
  • Kim Nguyen                      Lab Technician
  • Sonja Painter                   Lab Technician

Muscatine Power & Water (MPW) is the water utility for the City of Muscatine and manages over 156 miles of water main that connects 9,500 households and businesses. An average of 10 billion gallons of water is pumped each year (an average of 28.5 million gallons of water per day) from 26 wells located in the Muscatine Island Aquifer. Those wells can produce 40 million gallons of water per day.