Austin, MN

Wastewater Treatment Improvements

  • Client City of Austin, MN
  • Type Wastewater
  • Services Industrial/Municipal Treatment
  • Project Manager Steve Troyer, P.E.,BCEE


The City owns and operates a wastewater treatment facility for its domestic, commercial, and industrial customers. The plant is distinctive in that there is a separate set of treatment facilities (anaerobic contact process) that is dedicated to the treatment of almost 2 million gallons per day of process wastewater from Hormel Foods Corporation’s flagship food processing plant. The City retained FOX Engineering Associates, Inc. to assist it in upgrading the industrial treatment facilities.



Work began with a unique pre-design evaluation process led by FOX in which the tools of Systematic Innovation and Value Engineering were used to verify or improve the previous plan. The original plan was completely revised to achieve a very significant cost saving for the City and Hormel Foods.

The first phase of the project was then structured to consist of the design of two 1.2- million-gallon anaerobic treatment reactors that would serve also for flow equalization, a biogas collection and handling system, a 6,400 gpm transfer pump station and control building, control system and associated construction.




The recommended design concept offered an estimated life-cycle cost savings of 40% compared with the original concept. The resulting treatment concept that was selected and implemented involved combining two distinct treatment functions into one system. Instead of providing a separate flow equalization basin and additional anaerobic treatment reactors, the two functions were melded together in a design that allowed for flow equalization to occur within the anaerobic reactors. This eliminated the need to build a separate equalization tank and avoided the cost to cover the tank and provide expensive odor control equipment.

The new facility is operating according to its expectations and is meeting operational and permit compliance requirements. The industry will now be able to increase its production capabilities to capitalize on economic opportunities.



This project was awarded the 2004 Honor Award for Engineering Excellence by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Iowa.