Dubuque breaks ground on $64 million project - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque breaks ground on $64 million project

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- City officials broke ground Tuesday on the largest capital improvement project in Dubuque history.

The city's water pollution control center is seeing an estimated $64 million renovation. Mayor Roy Buol said Dubuque is funding that through the state's revolving loan fund, which it plans to pay back eventually through sanitary sewer fees.

The improvement is in line with Dubuque's continued sustainability efforts.

The plant is moving from a process involving incinerating its waste to using anaerobic digestion.

"We'll be taking the part we used to burn, just to get rid of, and we'll be converting it to something that's usable, in the form of energy, heat to operate the digesters and also a product that can be used for composting or soil amendments," plant manager Jonathan Brown said.

Brown said that soon after the renovation opens several years from now, the electricity generated through the new process will likely cut down the plant's electric costs by half - from $400,000 annually to $200,000. He said in the not-so-distant future, the plant could possibly power itself entirely.

The groundbreaking came just weeks after a two-tablespoon mercury spill at the plant, on September 23.

City officials say the public water is not being affected by the recent spill.

They said it happened during the deconstruction of a filter system, which Brown said hasn't been used since 1981.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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