Sanitary sewer water is wastewater that is collected from homes, businesses and industrial firms; then delivered to Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) for treatment. The waste from Duluth’s 26,000 residential and 134 commercial/industrial customers travels through over 400 miles of collection sewers and 43 lift stations throughout the city. This system carries approximately 18 million gallons of wastewater each day, however due to inflow and infiltration of storm water into the system, flows can increase up to 6 times more in wet weather.
The City of Duluth Public Works & Utilities department has dedicated staff who regularly clean, televise, inspect, maintain and repair the sanitary sewer system. Staff members are licensed by Minnesota Wastewater Operators Association to insure proper procedures are used when maintaining the sanitary system. In a typical year approximately 85 miles of line is cleaned, 40 miles of line is televised and inspected and nearly 100 defective structures in the system are repaired. The team also responds to 250 emergency calls for our customers.
Customers pay for sewerage service based on their monthly water usage. WLSSD treats the wastewater and discharges clean water into the St. Louis River. The sanitary sewer annual budget of approximately $14 million finances the treatment of the wastewater, the repair and maintenance of the system and the specialty equipment needed to do it.