Quick Facts about WLSSD

General Information

  • Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD)
  • WLSSD serves the cities of Carlton, Cloquet, Scanlon, Wrenshall, Duluth, Hermantown, Rice Lake and Proctor, and many townships, including Canosia, Duluth, Grand Lake, Lakewood, Midway,  Solway, Thomson, Silver Brook, and Twin Lakes.
  • WLSSD operates
    • a regional wastewater treatment plant,
    • a regional solid waste transfer station,
    • Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facility,
    • Yard Waste Compost Site, and
    • the Materials Recovery Center (MRC).
  • About 140,000 people make their homes in the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District’s 530 square mile service area; 109,000 people are connected to the regional sewer system.
  • WLSSD employs about 105 people to provide wastewater and solid waste services.
  • WLSSD’s main campus at 27th Avenue West in Duluth spans 40 acres.

Wastewater and Water Quality

  • WLSSD’s regional treatment plant treats 40 million gallons of wastewater every day. That’s nearly 14 billion gallons each year.
  • The treatment plant is designed to treat up to 49 million gallons per day. WLSSD’s treatment plant has the capacity to handle another medium-sized city or large industry.
  • WLSSD maintains about 75 miles of interceptor sewer (end to end, it would stretch from the wastewater treatment plant in Duluth to Toby’s in Hinckley).
  • Pipe diameters throughout the WLSSD system vary, from 6 inches to 72 inches.

Solid Waste

  • Nearly 100,000 tons of solid waste moved through WLSSD’s transfer station in 2019. Garbage from as far away as Grand Marais, MN is brought to WLSSD’s transfer station where its inspected before being transferred to Superior, WI’s landfill.
  • The region serviced by WLSSD produced 48,300 tons of municipal solid waste in 2019. This waste comes from the homes and businesses located within the 17 communities WLSSD serves.
  • WLSSD’s Materials Recovery Center served 76,641 visitors in 2019.
  • WLSSD’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility served 18,833 visitors in 2019.
  • WLSSD’s Yard Waste Compost Site served more than 20,000 visitors in 2019.
  • About 2,700 tons of source-separated food waste is delivered annually to WLSSD’s Yard Waste Organics Compost Site from area restaurants, hospitals, schools and more.  Food waste is mixed with yard waste to produce Garden Green® compost.
  • About 2,100 cubic yards of Garden Green® compost are sold each year.