City of Barron Wastewater Utility

Sewer Department Staff

City of Barron Wastewater Utility


Treatment of wastewater in the City of Barron dates back at least to the 1920s when the first sanitary sewer mains were installed and an Imhoff Tank Treatment system constructed. This system served the City until it was replaced with a Trickling Filter Plant in 1952. This plant became overloaded in the 1960's as a result of the growth of Jerome Foods. This problem was solved in 1971, when a four-cell Aerated Lagoon, the first of its kind, was put in operation (current site of Jennie-o Turkey Store wastewater treatment plant). The Trickling Filter Plant soon became overloaded again as a result of flow from the Wisconsin Dairies Co­op. In 1978, a project was completed to allow the diversion of a portion of the Municipal and Dairy waste to the lagoon system previously used solely by Jerome Foods. At the same time, the City was working on a "Step 1" evaluation of its needs and the condition of its collection system. After this evaluation was complete, "Step 1" continued with a study of the most “Cost Effective" way of treating the sewage. In conjunction with this, Wisconsin DNR mandated that communities in close proximity study the feasibility of a joint treatment facility. Initial cost estimates showed considerable savings in a joint treatment facility. As a result, an agreement which provided for construction and operation of a joint treatment plant was signed by the City of Barron and Village of Cameron in February of 1980. It was determined that if an appropriate site could be found, a new aerated lagoon system would be the most "cost effective" method of treating both communities wastewater. The site is located south of the Yellow River on Barron’s southeast side, consisting of approximately 62 acres. The land was donated by Wallace Jerome. With a site selected, plans went ahead to design and construct the seven-cell lagoon system placed into operation in October, 1982 Total cost of the project was $1,614,726 of which $893,058 was provided through Federal "EPA" and State “Wisconsin Fund" grants. Over the years nearly 400 acres surrounding the original 62 acre treatment plant were purchased with future expansion options in mind. The plant consists of the original four rubber lined six million gallon treatment ponds with three seepage ponds totaling 9 acres. The aeration is supplied by 4-60Horsepower driven blowers. In 1988 the original overland flow discharge for treated effluent was created on 16 acres, expanded to 36 acres in 1996. A spray irrigation system was added in 1995 as a third method of discharging the treated effluent on 60 acres of crop fields which is rented to area farmers. In 2018 (6) additional mixer/blowers were added to aid in better treatment.

Current Operation

The plant is operated by three fulltime DNR Certified Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators, assisted by 2 part-time employees during the summer months. Besides all the maintenance at the plant additional duties include maintenance of Barron’s collection system that measures 26 miles of sewer mains with 11 lift stations. The plant presently treats a combined total of 500,000 gallons / day of wastewater from the Village of Cameron and the City of Barron.