Property: Highground (27 Dec. 2004)

Contact: Crystal Wendt

----Source: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood County, Wis.) Mon, Dec 27, 2004

Highground gives water recycling a try

By Matt All-weather (Marshfield News-Herald)

The Highground's new water system is proving to be flush with success. Water facilities for the restrooms at the Highground, a 140-acre memorial park for veterans established in 1965, have undergone an overhaul that began in April 2003. The wastewater from urinals and toilets is now being recycled.

Water from the sink is not recycled, but once used, is fed into the system.

"I don't know that there's any" other similar units in the state, said Rick Halverson, a partner with Halverson Plumbing in Black River Falls. Placing the new water system at the Highground benefited both the park and the Wisconsin Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, who provided the system and labor, estimated at $25,000.

"We got a training facility, and the Highground also needed a system," Halverson said.

Once flushed, waste water travels to a treatment tank where most of the recycling takes place, Halverson said. By the time water returns to the restroom, it has passed through aerators, which oxygenate the water, 60 different filters, a charcoal filter to remove odor and two separate trips underneath ultraviolet light.

"The water comes back crystal clear," said Kirk Rodman, volunteer general manager at The Highground.

Halverson stressed the system has undergone testing every three months and the water has passed for drinking levels on each occasion. Although fairly new to the United States and Wisconsin, he said such systems are much more common in other countries. The system provides a way to save money in the long run because having less water flowing into the septic system should require less maintenance, Rodman said. The treatment plant requires a maintenance check every six months, and the ultraviolet lights are replaced every couple years, Halverson said. The Wisconsin Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association provided the labor and materials for the system in April 2003, but state approval for its use came in July. Since then, people are surprised to learn the restroom water is recycled, Halverson said. The new water treatment system is a great way to establish and maintain ways for the park to be self-sustaining as many of the people helping now are aging, Rodman said. The system should remain at Highground for a long time, Rodman said, and is a good investment in the future.

The park, located three miles west of Neillsville, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.



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