WLSSD Board Approves 2017 Budgets


For immediate release: 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Contact: Marianne Bohren, Executive Director,

(218) 740-4805

Karen L. Anderson, Director of Community Relations

(218) 740-4776


WLSSD Board Approves 2017 Budgets

DULUTH, MN: Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) Board of Directors approved its 2017 operating and capital budgets at its regular Board meeting last night. The budget includes 0% increase in wastewater costs over 2016 and 0% increase in the solid waste management fees collected to support solid waste programs.


“We’ve set a budget that reflects a careful balance between improving effectiveness and reliability, while ensuring that both solid waste and wastewater rates remain affordable to local residents and the 17 communities and 4 major industries we serve,” said WLSSD Executive Director Marianne Bohren. “Most importantly, we’ve accomplished cost efficiencies without reducing services or compromising the environmental performance of our facilities.”


“We planned for a 7% increase in electrical rates and last week revised our budget to incorporate an additional 2% as a result of an increase in the City of Duluth’s franchise fee to Minnesota Power,” continued Bohren. “The combined 9% increase in electricity adds $235,000 to our wastewater operating budget. Keeping costs flat was not easily achieved and is not sustainable if we can’t control electricity costs.”


Since 2006, WLSSD has experienced more than 66% in increase in electricity costs, despite reducing electricity usage by about 18%. “With electricity making up a third of the cost of wastewater treatment, maintaining affordable wastewater rates will depend on WLSSD’s ability to reduce or eliminate the need for purchased electricity,” continued Bohren. “It’s more important than ever that we that we continue to move forward with our combined heat and power project, which will allow WLSSD to generate our own electricity using the methane-rich gas produced during wastewater treatment. Unfortunately, this project is just not possible without bonding assistance from the state.”


WLSSD’s 10-year capital improvement plan also includes modernization of equipment that will further reduce WLSSD’s electricity usage and projects that will move WLSSD toward energy self-sufficiency.


Western Lake Superior Sanitary District provides award-winning wastewater and solid waste services within a 530 square mile service area and is a nationally recognized leader in pollution prevention. Governed by a nine-member citizen board, WLSSD is a special purpose subdivision of the State of Minnesota. Its legislative boundaries include the cities of Duluth, Cloquet, Carlton, Scanlon, Wrenshall, Hermantown, Proctor, Rice Lake and Thomson; and the rural townships of Silverbrook, Thomson, Twin Lakes, Canosia, Duluth, Grand Lake, Lakewood, Midway and Solway.



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