Our remediation efforts

Wauleco has worked closely with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to investigate and clean up the site since the mid-1980s. Over that time, Wauleco has collected nearly 500 soil samples from about 150 soil borings at the site, drilled and sampled more than 70 groundwater monitoring wells, and installed more than 30 groundwater extraction wells to remove groundwater from beneath the site and clean it up.

Though more work remains to be done, the remediation system Wauleco installed at the site has been very successful at recovering contamination.

80,000 lbs.

To date, more than 80,000 lbs. of the released PCP has been recovered and safely removed.

*As of December 31, 2020

490 million

This system has pumped and treated nearly 490 million gallons of water since it was started in full scale in 1991

*As of December 31, 2020

99 percent

More than 99 percent of the PCP in the groundwater is removed before the treated groundwater is discharged to the City of Wausau’s treatment plant for further treatment.

Remediation system

Wauleco prepares frequent remediation system performance reports for WDNR. We also:

  • Monitor the remedial system continuously and even have an onsite laboratory for our own quality control.
  • Prepare annual remediation system performance reports for WDNR. Here’s the most recent report.
  • Collect groundwater samples from site-monitoring wells on a quarterly basis. Read the most recent quarterly report.

Wauleco constantly explores the latest scientific developments to bring to bear. We use state-of-the-art techniques to evaluate site conditions and how our remediation is progressing. For example, to better understand conditions below the ground—and potential contamination we’ve yet to address—we intentionally froze soil samples as we collected them from below the surface. This freezing technique better preserves the sample for laboratory analysis. We believe this is the first time this freezing technique has been used in Wisconsin. To see the report of the results of this work and WDNR’s letter of approval, click here.

In addition to our remediation results, Mother Nature demonstrates a remarkable ability to degrade human-made chemicals naturally. PCP also naturally degrades in the environment. More information is provided here.

We’re currently engaged in a study to ensure such degradation is happening at our site, and that the conditions are right for continued natural PCP reduction by microorganisms that naturally live in the soil. The WDNR is overseeing this study. Read more about this work here.

Please refer to the news section for updated information on what’s going on at the site.

Here's a closer look at the treatment system process flow.

Treatment system
  1. Extraction Well: Groundwater is pumped by underground pumps to our onsite treatment system.
  2. Holding Tank: Incoming (influent) groundwater is collected in this tank.
  3. Aeration Tank: Oxygen is added in this tank.
  4. Biological Fluidized Bed: PCP dissolved in groundwater is reduced/treated biologically here.
  5. Fixed Film Reactor: PCP dissolved in groundwater is further reduced/treated biologically here.
  6. GAC Polishing: Water is further treated prior to discharge via a combination of eight granular activated carbon polishing tanks.
  7. Effluent to Sanitary Sewer: Treated (effluent) water is discharged to Wausau wastewater treatment plant, with 99 percent of the PCP removed.

What the WDNR has said about Wauleco’s site cleanup response

“Thanks to … the Wauleco team … this is how projects should work with a team that is proactive in an effective and efficient manner.” —October 2015


“It is not very often that we are informed … in such a straightforward manner, and I would like to commend you for it.” —November 1984

Learn more about our cleanup efforts

Timeline

To gain a complete understanding of our current and future environmental cleanup efforts, it’s important to know how we got here. This timeline highlights key moments in the history of the Wauleco property.

Reports

We’ve worked with industry-leading experts from the WDNR and other researchers to assess our cleanup efforts. You can access and review the complete reports and other communications here.

News and updates

We’re committed to keeping Wausau and the surrounding communities informed of our work on the Wauleco property. View the latest news releases, media coverage, and other updates here.

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Want to learn more?

We recognize the complexity of this topic, and we’re dedicated to delivering the information you need. That’s why we’ve compiled several frequently asked questions and provided thorough answers.

Check out our FAQs