Rep. Rob Stafsholt listened to the local municipalities in northwestern Wisconsin about the need for a fix regarding the trucking permits required for these municipalities’ water treatment plants to haul to and from West Central Wisconsin Biosolids.
Rob authored the fix as Assembly Bill 818. Rep. Stafsholt testified along with about a dozen representatives from local municipalities on these bills today in public hearings in the Assembly Committee on Transportation and the Senate Committee on Transportation, Veterans and Military Affairs.
West Central Wisconsin Biosolids Facility contracts with numerous municipalities throughout this region to recycle sludge from their sewage treatment plants into a dry fertilizer product. Since this is a recycling process, for the last twenty years they have been transporting the raw sludge from the treatment plants to their facility and the water byproduct back to the treatment plants under the state’s recyclable scrap permit.
Last year State Patrol informed them that while the transportation of the sludge to their facility to be recycled was an eligible use of the scrap permit, the return trip with the byproduct, since it is not a product that is going to be recycled, is not eligible. As a result, the Facility has been required to reduce the size of the loads it hauls in one direction only to no more than 6,000 gallons. More trips are now required and transportation costs for the facility and the communities using the facility are expected to increase and they anticipate having to purchase additional equipment. These increased costs would be borne by local water and sewer customers.
“This bill is a fix to allow municipalities to legally continue to do what they’ve been doing for 20 years,” Stafsholt said, “Not fixing this issue would result in increased rates for everyone that pays water and sewer bills to any of these municipalities that are contracted with the Biosolids Facility. These are places including Baldwin, Amery, Prescott, Spring Valley, Hammond, River Falls, Hudson, New Richmond and several more!”
In order to avoid this disparity and the associated costs, Stafsholt’s legislation would include the transportation of this wastewater as an eligible use under the scrap permit, provided it is being transported back to the municipal treatment facility. These loads will be limited to one hundred thousand pounds and under the clarifications in Assembly Amendment 1 must be transported by a tractor-trailer with a minimum of five axles. These bills await an executive session in both the Assembly and Senate committees.
“I was so pleased to work with folks from these municipalities on this legislation, and what an honor to have so many of them make the long trip down to testify in support of my bill in two public hearings today,” Stafsholt said. “I really thank them for doing so.”
People who made the trip to Madison to the Capitol to testify included Gary Newton - Village of Baldwin, Randy Lindquist - West Central Biosolids, Jeremy Wood - City of Amery, Jeff Mahoney - City of Amery, Dennis Eaton - City of Prescott, Graham Gausman - Village of Spring Valley, Chuck Fedie - Village of Hammond, Ron Groth - City of River Falls, Joe Intihar - City of Hudson, Joel Enders - City of New Richmond, and Steve Skinner - City of New Richmond.