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BPM, Inc. Is Considering Wastewater Plant Options

Issue Date: August 16, 2018

Dealing with wastewater may be going full cycle for BPM, Inc. and the City of Peshtigo. Some years ago Badger Paper Mills, Inc., forerunner of BPM, Inc., obtained an economic development grant to build an updated wastewater treatment plant that would serve both the mill and the city. That plant, with numerous upgrades and improvements, is still in use today.

Eventually the city purchased the wastewater treatment facility from Badger, but mill personnel continued to operate it under contract with the city.

That contract was ended less than a decade ago. Since then the city has operated the plant with the mill paying water and sewer bills based on use, like any other user of the utilities.

Now that may change. BPM, Inc. General Manager Jim Koronkiewicz had previously told the city's Water and Sewer Utility Committee that the mill is having some studies done on wastewater treatment options. At the committee's meeting on Monday, Aug. 13 he said BPM, Inc. currently is considering four options. One would be to continue using the existing wastewater treatment plant, hopefully with some adjustments in the city's rate structure; options two and three would be variances on building and operating a separate partial wastewater treatment plant, and the fourth option would be for BPM, Inc. to build an entirely new complete wastewater treatment plant of its own and operate it independently from the city. Koronkiewicz said this would include two aeration lagoons on the old pulp mill property adjacent to the Peshtigo River on the city's east side.

With Koronkiewicz at the meeting was ISG Consultant Christopher J. DeWall, who has been working on the wastewater treatment options study.

They had some questions for the utility, and no decisions have been made. Committee member Fred Meintz estimated the BPM, Inc. sewer bill at roughly $600,000 a year, but said construction of a separate facility could cost them "in the double digit millions. "This will be an ongoing discussion for several months," Meintz predicted.

"We will be a standing agenda item on their agenda, and have given them a list of questions that we expect to be answered over the next several months," Koronkiewicz said in a conversation after the meeting.

In other action at the meeting the committee formally adopted a policy for handling water leak credit requests, which had also been discussed last month. The policy adopted states, on a one-time basis, credit will be given if there is a water leak, but only if the water does not get into the city's sanitary sewer system. The water is actually paid for regardless, but the portion of the bill that is to cover wastewater treatment costs would be waived. Present for the meeting were committee members Meintz, Dan Seymour and Chair Tom Gryzwa, DeWall, Koronkiewicz, Jerry Motkowski, who managed the WWTP when BPM, Inc. ran it, and Public Works Director George Cowell.


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