Milwaukee Treatment Plant Passes Visitor Milestone

More than 20,000 visitors have toured the Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility, which Veolia manages and operates as part of its private-public partnership with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

Veolia North America announced Sept. 22 that it has reached a milestone of hosting 20,000 visitors at the Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility, which Veolia manages and operates as part of its private-public partnership with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. This milestone was achieved when more than 2,100 visitors toured the plant Sept. 19 during the annual Doors Open Milwaukee event.

"Situated on the shore of Lake Michigan, the Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility presents a unique backdrop for Historic Milwaukee's Doors Open tour and for the many visitors who have toured the facility over the years to learn about the importance of cleaning wastewater before releasing it back into the natural environment," according to the company's announcement. "In continuous operation since 1926, the Jones Island facility was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1974 by the American Society of Civil Engineers in recognition for its innovations in providing high-quality wastewater treatment. Jones Island was also one of the first facilities in the world to produce a fertilizer as the by-product of the water reclamation process: Milorganite®.

"Veolia is committed to providing educational tools and resources that help de-mystify the wastewater treatment side of the water cycle, so achieving this 20,000 visitor milestone mark is one that we certainly celebrate," said John Wood, senior vice president of Operations, Municipal & Commercial business of Veolia North America. "It is fitting that we hit this milestone during the annual Doors Open event, which has seen our visitor numbers grow each year starting at 400 the first year and this year reaching more than 2,000 visitors in a single day. Beyond learning the basics of the wastewater treatment process, we hope that all of our visitors gain an appreciation of how the facility helps protect the environment and public health, along with a better appreciation of how they can also protect Lake Michigan."

According to the company, the partnership is the nation's largest wastewater partnership, serving 1.1 million people in 28 municipalities in southeastern Wisconsin. The plant can treat more than 300 million gallons of wastewater a day.

"The tour program here at Jones Island is one of the cornerstones of our outreach program,” said Steve Jacquart, intergovernmental coordinator of MMSD. "The annual Doors Open event is yet one more way to showcase our high standards for water reclamation at the Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility. It is my favorite day of the year, when visitors are able to see just how important the facility is for maintaining public health while learning something new about modern wastewater treatment processes.

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