When WLSSD first opened in 1978 the St. Louis River and the Duluth Harbor were heavily polluted from decades of cities and industries directly discharging sewage into the river and St. Louis Bay. Fish couldn’t survive and area residents avoided any contact with the water. Within 2 weeks of WLSSD starting up the treatment plant, the water was noticeably cleaner. Since then, the river has come a long way in its healing and our region has reclaimed an iconic Minnesota treasure.
Last Saturday, WLSSD hosted an open house to recognize all the hard work that has taken place over the past four decades. Nearly 100 patrons visited the facility for educational activities and demonstrations related to our mission of environmental protection here at WLSSD. Several tours were also conducted to give the public a first-hand view of how water is cleaned and how solid waste is managed in our region. The creation of WLSSD began as an effort to restore the St. Louis River to fishable and swimmable conditions. Over the years, WLSSD has become much more, and we love sharing those developments with you!
Looking ahead, there are many future challenges we will face in protecting the environment and serving our region. Upcoming developments include seeking sustainable alternatives for solid waste management, as well as harnessing the incredible renewable energy opportunities at our wastewater facility. These kinds of initiatives will help support our mission of protecting the regional environment while also providing a valuable and affordable service to residents, businesses, and industries for many years to come. For a more comprehensive account of WLSSD’s past, present, and future, take a look at what our Executive Director Marianne Bohren had to say about the 40th Anniversary: