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Blogs / Professional Fellows Exchange Program / Zero Wastewater Management of Dubuque City

Zero Wastewater Management of Dubuque City

Various cases of environmental pollution and the deterioration of public health is caused by wastewater from various industrial activities, hospitals, markets, restaurants and households as well. It is determined by the handling and processing of the waste. Wastewater treatment technologies is key in preserving the environment. What I learnt in City of Dubuque is, when water and other stuff go down the drain in Dubuque City, it ends up at the Water & Resource Recovery Center, which processes an average of 10 million gallons of wastewater per day, which is equivalent of 144 showers per minute entering the facility’s treatment system. Pure oxygen biological treatment is used to clean the wastewater. 


Wastewater clarifiers prior to come into disinfection stage, Water & Resource Recovery Center (WRRC) of City of Dubuque

Then, anaerobic digesters use helpful bacteria to convert the wastewater sludge into a beneficial by-product, fertilizer for farm field, where in Indonesia called as compost


End-processed solid waste product which being utilized as fertilizer for farming

Wastewater clarifiers prior to come into disinfection stage, Water & Resource Recovery Center (WRRC) of City of Dubuque

The WRRC converts waste (sludge) into electricity and heat. The anaerobic digestion process produces methane gas. The gas is captured, cleaned, and burned to power turbines that generate electricity. The heat produced through this process is used to heat the complex, and the electricity produced is used to power the facility. Currently, the facility produces enough electricity to power approximately 300 households per day, which 70% of the electricity needed to operate the facility. The WRRC is producing more methane gas than can be used at the facility. The City is researching methods to use this excess methane gas to increase revenues and further reduce operating costs. The entire processes of the center covering the following; 1) Preliminary Treatment, 2) Primary Treatment, 3) Secondary Treatment, 4) Disinfection, 5) Anaerobic Digestion, and 6) Bio solids Handling. 

WRRC Structure

Overview of the Water & Resource Recovery Center of City of Dubuque

In Indonesia, one of the city which has wastewater treatment is Bali called Bali Tourism Development Cooperation (BTDC) Lagoon. BTDC Lagoon was built in 1976 with a capacity of 10,000 m³ / day. Lagoon began operations in 1980. The area of ​​the lagoon is 30 Ha, this time is used for the installation and the pump house about 17 hectares. BTDC Lagoon consists of two installations, i.e. installation for waste treatment and produce the irrigation water.

Liquid wastes are processed in the lagoon BTDC is domestic wastewater coming from each part of the hotel such as bathrooms, toilets, laundry, swimming pool, air conditioning (AC), kitchen and all hotel activities that use water, which is then piped to the main sewage pipeline BTDC. From the main sewage pipe sewage will flow by gravity toward the lift pump station (LPS) were nearby and in the LPS submersible pump will work automatically pumping waste directly into the Lagoon BTDC approximately 2 km in the north region. Until now, there is not water treatment center in Indonesia which runs zero wastewater management as in City of Dubuque done. It is a good lesson learned of management to be adopted in Kendari City then,  as most of wastewaters are being dropped out into the environment without preliminary treatment.


Jose Dante Albao

Wastewater treatment is a big concern in our countries, too. Thank you for sharing what you've seen at Dubuque.

Alfian Lawi

Alfian Lawi

You are welcome Dave!

Lindsay Lucas

What would it take to get a wastewater management system up and running in Kendari? Is this a high priority for your city?

Alfian Lawi

Alfian Lawi

It would be a good reference for my city's government to re-think about wastewater management system as part of integrated program in line with livable city goals.
Wastewater is part of my city waste management, but it is not a high priority if it compared with solid waste, I will share this lesson learned to Kendari City's Planning Board and Environment Agency as well.

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