Waupaca plant takes food waste
Bear Creek company makes sauerkraut, pickles
By Angie Landsverk
Food waste from a manufacturing plant in Bear Creek has become a revenue source for Waupaca’s wastewater treatment plant.
The city began accepting brine food waste from GLK Foods last November.
It expects to receive between $2,000 and $3,000 in revenue per month based on how much the company is being allowed to discharge, said Justin Berrens, the city’s public works director.
“The revenue is based on volume. They pay so much per 1,000 gallons of waste discharge,” said Jesse Landre, the plant’s superintendent.
The company’s products include pickles, sauerkraut and pickled vegetables.
For now, it is limited to discharging 10 loads of food waste per day, he said.
Landre said the company is only allowed to haul the waste here when the plant is open.
He received a phone call from the Bear Creek plant in early November.
The company stores its manufacturing waste in lagoons, he said.
Due to the amount of rain last fall, they were saturated.
GLK Foods was looking for treatment facilities to take it to.
Landre requested lab reports to make sure there was nothing in the waste that would be harmful to the city’s own treatment process.
He also talked to someone at New London’s wastewater plant to learn about the characteristics of the waste, as it has accepted the waste.
“They said it didn’t affect theirs, but every wastewater plant is different,” Landre said.
He described the food waste as a “low-strength waste.”
The company’s hauler had to get a discharge permit from the city.
Increased number of loads
When the city started accepting the waste in late November, it initially accepted four loads per day.
Landre said that was to make sure it did not affect the treatment process.
In December, the city increased the number of loads it accepted per day to six.
“We still didn’t notice anything different,” he said.
Berrens said the December invoice was just over $1,600.
From there, the number of loads accepted per day increased to 10.
That is why the city expects the revenue to now be between $2,000 and $3,000 per month.
“It might be a limited time,” Landre said. “For now, we’ll probably be accepting the waste until spring, until they empty the lagoons.”
Waupaca’s plant is not the only one the company contacted.
“They were calling wastewater plants all the way from here to Wausau,” Landre said.
Renovations at New London’s plant meant it could not accept the waste at the time, he said.
Landre said Waupaca’s plant has received requests from other businesses through the years.
“Based on the strength of the waste they wanted to bring, we had to turn them away,” he said.
That was because in those cases, it would have affected the city’s process and permit.