City of Brodhead Water Quality Trading

Posted By: Andrew Skog Awards ,

2022 Engineering Excellence Best of State

Entering Firm: MSA Professional Services Inc.
Client: City of Brodhead

Small communities like Brodhead face a difficult challenge in their water treatment programs. In addition to general maintenance and facility improvement, improving environmental regulations place further strain on the system. For Brodhead, their wastewater treatment facility was in good working condition, but upgrades were required to meet new phosphorus limits.

A Broad Look at Water Treatment

MSA Professional Services took a holistic approach to the problem. Rather than focusing solely on the treatment plant, the team looked at the local water system. Searles Creek was identified as the lynchpin in the system. Engineers stabilized 62 streambanks to reduce sediment buildup.

Agricultural users were also brought into the process. The design team created a new treatment system for manure from a major farm in the area. This collaboration virtually eliminated runoff from the farm which was one of the biggest contributors to phosphorus pollution in the local water system.

Awards judge Jerry Deschane said, “What MSA has accomplished for the community of Brodhead is a stunningly-successful model of win-win collaboration. The city was saved from a multimillion-dollar sewer system upgrade, farmers were assisted with land management practices that will improve their efficiency and reduce their environmental footprint. This was truly brilliant work.”

Making A Big Impact

These changes formed the backbone of a water quality trading system. The new system removes 1,090 pounds of phosphorus per year compared to the 190 pounds per year that would have been removed from treatment plant updates. The project clocked in under one million dollars and is estimated to save the community more than $3.8 million over the lifecycle. The holistic approach by the design team made a huge difference for the community and the environment.

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