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Wastewater Treatment Plant

In 2007 Lester Prairie completed a $4.4 million waste-water treatment plant upgrade that will serve the city for 30 years and accommodate a population of 3,200 people, according to Operator Lee Ortloff of PeopleService, which contracts with the city to operate the plant.

The upgrades were need to address future population growth and to meet new water quality mandates from the state. As part of the improvements, the plant was upgraded from a "C" plant to an "A" plant, the most stringent classification for a wastewater treatment facility. The water being discharged is 98.5 to 99.5 percent clean.

The discharge flows into the Crow River. This is one of the reasons the plant had to be upgraded. The Crow River has been classified as an impaired waterway, and the cities that discharge water into the river must meet stricter standards than in the past.

Phoshorus removal is on of the key issues the new limit is 1 parts per million (ppm) versus the old of 4 ppm. The city is running well below that limit. The water comes into the plant at 8.04 ppm, and goes out at about 0.12 ppm.

The city is currently treating about 100,000 gallons of wastewater per day, but the plant has a capacity to treat 364,000 gallons per day.

The plant is currently using biological, rather than chemical processing to treat the water.

By raising and managing bacteria to treat the water, it is possible to avoid the addition of chemicals.

The entire plant is automated and controlled by a central computer.

If necessary, the plant can be controlled using a lap-top computer from an off-site location.