ST. CLOUD - The St. Cloud Wastewater Treatment Facility was put into service in 1976. Industrial waste and anything that goes down a sink or toilet in Central Minnesota ends up here to be cleaned and put back into the Mississippi River.

10.5 million gallons of wastewater typically go through the facility every day from all around Central Minnesota. The St. Cloud Water Treatment Plant also serves St. Augusta, St. Joseph, Sartell, Sauk Rapids and Waite Park.

Once the water reaches the plant it goes through several steps before it’s put back into the Mississippi River.

The process starts with large solids being separated out of the liquid. A large filtering screen separates any solids that enter the system.

The second step involves using microorganisms like bacteria that break down and eat the waste as an energy source. Oxygen is pumped into these large water tanks to help the bacteria thrive.

The water then goes through the final clarification phase. During this step the water is disinfected using ultraviolet light and is then transported to the Mississippi River.

While the water is pumped into the river, solid waste is taken to a separate building where it's further treated to be placed on land as a fertilizer.

Water quality is constantly monitored to be sure that it’s clean by the end of the process. Every hour samples are tested in an on-site laboratory where samples can be closely observed, showing that a lot of scientific work goes into the facility behind the scenes to recycle wastewater in Central Minnesota.

 

Dan DeBaun, WJON News