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The City’s Water Pollution Control (WPC) facility is one of few advanced wastewater treatment facilities in the State of Iowa — capable of treating as much as 125 million gallons of residential and industrial wastewater. For perspective, this is approximately the same capacity for waste treatment as a city the size of Minneapolis. Thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of economic activity depend upon the facility.

WPC must address a number of challenges in order to maintain its current level of service and prepare for future growth. During a 42-month intensive baseline, research, and discovery process, City staff reviewed more than 40 technologies and several plan alternatives to recommend A Plan for the Future, with technologies that are reliable and cost-effective, retain our competitive advantage, and develop capacity for growth.

Utilities Department staff submitted the plan to Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) in 2019, meeting an obligated deadline to show work toward achieving goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. The plan was accepted and approved by IDNR.

Cedar Rapids Water Pollution Control Facility

Nutrient Reduction & Solids Handling Plan

A Plan for the Future -- key highlights:

  • Replace aging solids-handling facilities.
    Upgraded technology will allow for more resource-efficient compliance with MACT air quality standards and NPDES permit requirements.
  • Meet nutrient-reduction regulatory expectations.
    Our Plan for the Future meets Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy expectations.
  • Use wastewater as a resource.
    There is a strong local agricultural market that can benefit from the sale of our bio-solids as a soil amendment and recovered phosphorus as fertilizer. We will use recovered energy to power our resource-intensive plant or inject biogas output into our natural gas supply system.
  • Continue to be stewards of the watershed.
    Components of the plan include investments upstream, with quadruple-bottom-line benefits of source water improvement, flood reduction, potential for nutrient removal credit at WPC, and improved soil health for farmers.


Timeline & Milestones

  • 2015-19 | Plan development, including 42-month intensive baseline, research, and discovery process.
  • June 2019 | Plan submitted to IDNR, accepted, and approved.
  • 2019-20 | Stakeholder outreach
  • March 2020 | Early Phase I engineering and design work begins
  • January 2021 | City selected to apply for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Phases I & II
  • June 2021 | Final design of Phase I improvements
  • Summer 2022 | Phase I construction begins
  • Spring 2025 | Phase II construction begins (estimated)
  • Summer 2025 | Phase I construction estimated completion
  • Summer 2029 | Phase II construction estimated completion
  • 2032-2037 | Phases III & IV projected construction
Phased implementation accommodates changing community, economic, and growth needs. The construction schedule is subject to Council approval and may adapt as financial options change.
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