Home   |   About   |   Best Practices   |   Steps 1-5   |   Recognition   |   All Cities   |   Ordinances   |  City log-in   |   Contact           Stay Connected
GreenStep City Best Practices Environmental Management

Efficient Water and Wastewater Systems
no. 20

Assess and improve city drinking water and wastewater systems and related facilities.
  Best Practice Action 6      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ]       [all actions]

Implement a wastewater plant efficiency project (co-generation, water reuse) or a program for local private business operations (water conservation, water reuse, business co-location).

  • For free technical consultation contact MnTAP, at the University of MN. For financing options contact Bill Dunn at the MPCA, who can explain, among other funding, the Green Project Reserve funding from the MPCA for projects that reduce the environmental footprint of water and wastewater treatment, collection, and distribution, that help utilities adapt to climate change, enhance water and energy conservation, adopt more sustainable solutions to wet weather flows, and promote innovative approaches to water management problems.
  • Recycling Treated Municipal Wastewater for Industrial Water Use (Metropolitan Council: 2007) and Municipal Wastewater Reuse (MPCA: 2010).
  • Guidelines for Water Reuse (US EPA: 2012) covers water reclamation and reuse, planning for future water reuse systems, and information on indirect potable reuse and industrial reuse. Disinfection and treatment technologies, emerging contaminants, and public involvement and acceptance are also discussed.
  • In 2014 Elk River, for example, required businesses to take steps to keep grease out of sewer lines.
  • During 2011 the city of Brainerd investigated the possibility of using the city waste water system for heating and cooling purposes.
  • Visit the Midwest Combined Heat and Power Techncial Assistance Partnership for case studies of CHP systems fueled by biogas from anaerobic digestion at waste water treatment plants. As of October 2012, 62 publicly owned treatment plants in MN had anerobic digestion in place. For small-medium WWTPs in MN, the simple payback for installing CHP is 4-10 years.
  • See, for example, a 2012 industrial biogas project at Liberty Paper in which the City of Becker is a partner. A pretreatment facility at the Liberty paper mill will allow water to be pretreated on-site and methane captured and burned for in-plant energy use before the water is routed to the city's wastewater treatment plant.
Assist local businesses and institutions with water conservation measures; assist businesses in pre-treating and lowering volumes and toxicity of sewer inflows.
Reuse water (sell reclaimed water) from a wastewater plant for nonpotable ag-processing, irrigation, cooling or power plant uses; require businesses to take steps to keep grease out of sewer lines.
Co-generate electricity and heat through anaerobic digestion at the wastewater treatment plant; comp plan/zoning that guides businesses using high volumes of non-potable water to within 2-5 miles of a waste water treatment plant.

Albert Lea

Date action report first entered:   07/15/2016
Date of last report update:   07/15/2016

Implementation details:
At the 6.7 MGD Waste Water Treatment facility, Albert Lea has operated a 120 kW on-site methane fired electric generation system since 2003.

Descriptive links: http://midwestchptap.org/profiles/ProjectProfiles/Albert_Lea_WWT_Facility_Profile.pdf

For more information contact:
Jerry Gabrielatos (City staff)   |   jgabrielatos@ci.albertlea.mn.us   |   507-377-4316

View All Albert Lea Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/07/2012

Implementation details:
WWTP has been using biogas from the industrial digeters to recover heat for heating of return sludge for many years. Hormel Foods Corporate Office is using greywater in restrooms in the office expansion that was completed in February. -Methane gas is generated through the digesters and then is captured and is used as the fuel source for the boilers. The boilers heat the waste flow to optimize the biological process. The City operates two treatment plants and this process is used for both. At certain times the organic loading is not sufficient to produce enough biogas for the operation of the domestic plant and if possible we will divert flow from the industrial plant to try and supplement the loading thus increasing our gas production. This process provides for significant reductions in our needs for natural gas.

For more information contact:
Janet Anderson (Community volunteer)   |   janetanderson2840@gmail.com   |   5072190680

WWTP, Hormel Foods

View All Austin Actions


Date action report first entered:   06/02/2011

Implementation details:
Rochester has 2 main co-generator plants that supply a majority of the city. Franklin Heating Station, primarily serves Mayo Clinic, while Rochester Public Utilities is a more comprehensive supplier for the city.

Descriptive links: http://www.chpcentermw.org/minnesotaDECHP2010/DeBoer.pdf

For more information contact:
Tony Benson (City staff)   |   tbenson@rpu.org   |   507-280-1534

View All Rochester Actions

Saint Cloud

Date action report first entered:   05/17/2017
Date of last report update:   05/17/2017
Year action initially completed:   2014
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The Energy Efficiency and Biofuel Recovery Project started construction in June 2016 and is at substantial completion.The project consisted of installation of energy efficient and biofuel recovery equipment.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The facility can generate on average 80% of its electrical demand onsite through solar or biofuel. There are days when the facility produces more energy than it needs.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.stcloud.mn.us/1512/Energy-Efficiency-Biofuel-E2B-Recovery-P

For more information contact:
Tracy Hodel (City staff)   |   tracy.hodel@ci.stcloud.mn.us   |   3202557226

Xcel Energy, Apex Efficiency Solutions Inc

View All Saint Cloud Actions


Date action report first entered:   03/23/2012

Implementation details:
Upgrades the city has been making to Mankato's water treatment plant are designed to conserve energy and minimize costs by drawing more water from surface wells that have high-capacity output with low maintenance. The city's water reclamation facility continues to provide advanced wastewater treatment, similar to a drinking water plant. Organic byproducts of the wastewater treatment process are made available to area farmers for use as fertilizer. The City maintains certification with the National Biosolids Partnership for effective and efficient handling of biosolids in this land application program. A new station was built in 2011 that includes a fill station where trucks can fill their tanks with City reclaimed water from the wastewater treatment lant. City employees use this water for street sweeping, sod establishment, and pipe testing, and the City is also planning to sell this water to those who have purchased drinking water in the past for such purposes.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Mankato's surface water well has reduced the city's use of water from deep wells (tapping the Mount Simon aquifer) by about 50 percent. Between 1.5 and 2 million gallons of treated wastewater is being used by the Mankato Energy Center for cooling, which saves the city nearly 700 million gallons of water annually and has significantly reduced phosphorous levels. The City used 1.2 million gallons of reclaimed Title 22 water in 2011 to irrigate the new Riverfront Park.

Descriptive links: http://www.mankato-mn.gov/Wastewater-Treatment/Page.aspx

For more information contact:
Molly Westman (City staff)   |   mwestman@mankatomn.gov   |   507-387-8571

View All Mankato Actions

Red Wing

Date action report first entered:   06/28/2011

Implementation details:
A) Industrial pretreatment program that engages business to lower toxicity or volume of waste discharges to POTW. D) One grey water reuse system in the city

Outcome measures/metrics:
Record the business that get involved in the toxicity or reduction actions and also list the gret water re-use site(s)

For more information contact:
Steve Stadler (City staff)   |   sstadler@hopkinsmn.com   |   952-548-6350

View All Red Wing Actions

Saint Anthony

Date action report first entered:   05/05/2011

Implementation details:
The City of St. Anthony reuses backwash water from the water treatment plant to replace potable water used for irrigation in a +20 acre park and City Hall site.

For more information contact:
Jay Hartman (City staff)   |   jay.hartman@ci.saint-anthony.mn.us   |   612-782-3314

View All Saint Anthony Actions

Two Harbors

Date action report first entered:   04/07/2015
Date of last report update:   04/21/2015

Implementation details:
The city has always used plant effluent water for wash downs in place of city water whenever possible in order to conserve water supplies.

For more information contact:
Sven Bergerson (City staff)   |   berger55@frontiernet.net   |   218-834-8814

View All Two Harbors Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/29/2014
Date of last report update:   06/17/2016

Implementation details:
A grease waste reduction project commenced in September 2013 to reduce the amounts of fats, oils and greases entering the Wastewater Treatment facility by 10%. Baseline measurements of FOG were taken and compared with years prior and a collaborative education initiative is underway to educate restaurants and commercial kitchen operators about best management practices for FOG waste. The first of many conversations about this topic occurred on April 23rd at a public presentation entitled, "Grease Waste in Bemidji: Cleaning Up the Headwaters."

For more information contact:
Al Gorick (City staff)   |   al.gorick@ci.bemidji.mn.us   |   218-333-1865

View All Bemidji Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/30/2019
Date of last report update:   01/30/2019
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
City of Crosslake Wastewater Treatment Project

Descriptive links: https://clients.bolton-menk.com/crosslakewwtp/

For more information contact:
Martha Steele (Community volunteer)   |   steeles@brainerd.net   |   218-765-4041

View All Crosslake Actions


Date action report first entered:   08/27/2018
Date of last report update:   08/27/2018
Year action initially completed:   2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
City Maintenance is working at cleaning up the sewer ponds with the help of the MPCA. Bugs have been placed in the ponds to help with algae and sludge.

For more information contact:
Dianne Johnson (City staff)   |   heda@runestone.net   |   320-986-2448

Minnesota Pollution Control, Department of Health

View All Hoffman Actions

Saint Paul

Date action report first entered:   12/23/2014
Date of last report update:   12/23/2014

Implementation details:
The City's Comprehensive Plan Water Chapter has policies on gray water, rain barrels, drip irrigation, and “lost water”. (pp. W9-W10)

For more information contact:
Kurt Schultz (City staff)   |   kurt.schultz@ci.stpaul.mn.us   |   651-266-6590

View All Saint Paul Actions

Bloomington pending

Date action report first entered:   01/29/2018
Date of last report update:   01/29/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
. The City’s tiered water rate structure is in place to help encourage efficient water use. The water and wastewater rates are in City Code and can be found here: http://library.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Minnesota/bloomington_mn/bloomingtonminnesotacodeofordinances?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:bloomington_mn

For more information contact:
Steve Gurney (City staff)   |   sgurney@BloomingtonMN.gov   |   952-563-4606

View All Bloomington Actions

Hastings pending

Date action report first entered:   04/27/2016
Date of last report update:   04/27/2016

Implementation details:
The City’s current water conservation measures is through ordinances that restrict lawn watering to odd-even cycle from May through September. The upcoming Utility Rate Study will provide an opportunity to explore other areas of potential advancement on this topic.

For more information contact:
Nick Egger (City staff)   |   negger@hastingsmn.gov   |   651-480-2370

View All Hastings Actions

Hutchinson pending

Date action report first entered:   03/02/2016
Date of last report update:   03/02/2016

Implementation details:
All water used in treatment processes at Hutchinson’s Wastewater Treatment Facility is recycled effluent from the treatment process.

For more information contact:
John Paulson (City staff)   |   jpaulson@ci.hutchinson.mn.us   |   320-234-5682

View All Hutchinson Actions

New Hope pending

Date action report first entered:   04/02/2015
Date of last report update:   11/19/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The city constructed an underground water storage tank at Northwood Lake in 2016 that collects rainwater and will be used to irrigate the nearby ball fields. The improvements to Northwood Lake will reduce phosphorous & sedimentation in the water.

Descriptive links: https://www.newhopemn.gov/city_hall/city_manager/performance_measures

For more information contact:
Jeff Alger (City staff)   |   jalger@ci.new-hope.mn.us   |   763-531-5119

View All New Hope Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Brent Vizanko, Assoc. Engineer, Minnesota Technical Assistance Program: 612/624-4653, bvizan@umn.edu, http://mntap.umn.edu/us/staff.htm