In 2011, the Wisconsin villages of Eleva and Strum joined forces to mitigate the costs of upgrading their aging wastewater infrastructure. About four miles apart, both communities had aging wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) in need of improvements. Both communities also faced significant financial investments in order to implement those repairs. By building a new, shared WWTP, Eleva and Strum reduced the overall capital and operating costs by 25 percent versus improving each existing plant separately. Davy Engineering of La Crosse, which designed and led the ambitious project to its successful completion, faced several challenges along the way.
One challenge associated with the combined plant was the transportation of wastewater from each village to the new facility. The proposed alignment of the new force main ran along an existing state recreational trail corridor next to the Buffalo River, as well as 13 private easements. Several obstacles along the alignment compelled Davy to consider horizontal directional drilling (HDD). These obstacles included stream crossings, road crossings, narrow right-of-ways, existing trees, easement and recreational trail permit restrictions, and protected wetlands areas. In addition to the difficulty of open-cut construction through these obstacles, the cost and time delays associated with acquiring permits for the disturbance of these areas made HDD a logical choice.
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