The City of Owatonna recently proposed to expand its wastewater treatment facility to accommodate its growing population. The proposal is to roughly double the size of the existing plant, which currently has a capacity of 5 million gallons per day, to 9.1 million gallons per day.

The City of Owatonna plans to add a building to the current site, and also add several "new components" to the facility. During construction, of the new building to increase capacity, Owatonna would continue to use the existing plant for its wastewater treatment.

The cost of the project according to a December 28th, 2020 dated document from the Public Works Director to the Mayor and Council states that "The cost for preliminary engineering is not to exceed $1,181,366.00.  The preliminary opinion of cost for the final design phase is $2.3 million."

According to a news release from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, "the treated wastewater is discharged to the Straight River. To protect the river and downstream waters, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has drafted a permit for the discharged wastewater that would limit several potential pollutants."

Under the planned expansion of the plant, "the facility would need to decrease the amount of phosphorus it discharges by 27 percent, from 7.6 tons to 5.5 tons per year. Less phosphorus in the river and downstream Lake Byllesby would help curb excess algae, which is detrimental to fish, other aquatic life, and recreation."

Members of the public can comment on the project through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website on the environmental assessment worksheet through May 3rd. You can also write and send your comments to the MPCA at:

  • Environmental assessment worksheet: Kim Grosenheider (651-757-2170) MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194 or.
  • Wastewater discharge permit: Holly Mikkelson (218-316-3860), 7678 College Road, Suite 105, Baxter, MN 56425

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