Richland Center Wastewater Treatment

Industry: Food Processing RDP Investment: $7 million Launched: July 2012

Richland Center, Wisconsin

Richland Center, WI – Richland Center Renewable Energy (RCRE) is a joint effort of Foremost Farms USA and Schreiber Foods, two of Richland Center’s major employers, to solve a significant problem involving wastewater treatment in the city of Richland Center. Foremost Farms USA is a farmer-owned cooperative which produces mozzarella cheese and value-added whey products to customers nationwide. Schreiber Foods is the world’s largest employee-owned dairy company which processes cheese and is a leader in processing cream cheese, natural cheese, high-end specialty cheese, and yogurt.

The allocation of NMTC enabled RCRE to secure funding to construct a new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility in Richland Center, Wisconsin. RCRE will provide a solution to a significant problem involving wastewater treatment in the city. With an overburdened existing system in the city that presents numerous challenges including volume, functionality, odor, traffic, disposal, cost, and the ability to eventually increase capacity, the proposed RCRE wastewater treatment facility plans to address these challenges faced by the RCRE companies continued use of the city’s existing facility. RCRE will alleviate burden on the city’s current facility and allow the RCRE companies to run at higher capacity, thereby realizing not only retention of employee base, but also potential job growth.

The project will enable the RCRE companies’ production facilities in Richland Center to separate normal strength wastewater from high strength wastewater and send it to RCRE via pipelines. RCRE will have both anaerobic and aerobic treatment capabilities with two 850 kW electrical generators. The RCRE facility will generate up to 1.7 megawatts (MW) of renewable electricity annually which will be sold to the power grid under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with WPPI Energy, a consortium of municipal owned utilities which includes Richland Center Utilities. The amount of electricity generated is enough to power approximately 1,200 homes annually.

RDP’s Community Investment Program

Rural Development Partners and Richland Center Renewable Energy awarded a $70,000 matching funds grant toward workforce development and community initiatives.

$10,000 was given toward workforce development initiatives inspired by the High School Design Competition for Students. The Tailgate for Talent Program in cooperation with county schools offers hands-on academic and technical competencies which prepare students for work in local industry. Students experience a full range of skillsets associated with: Innovation, project management, design, fabrication to finishing, assembly, quality testing, business development, marketing, finance, business administration, supply chain, etc. Occupational interests include: Industrial Engineering Technology, Electromechanical, Mechanical & Concept Design, Technology Quality & Safety, Machine Tool Technology, Communication/Team Building/Leadership, Metal Fabrication/Welding Purchasing, Budget & Approval Processes, Painting & Finishing, Problem Solving, and Time Management.

$10,000 was donated to Iowa Foundation for Microenterprise & Community Vitality to be used as a loan loss reserve by Iowa MicroLoan for Richland Center (WI). Loan funding and the ancillary program services provided by IFMCV include:

  1. Business plan competition awards (for technical assistance) to stimulate new or expanding local food enterprises and/or small business enterprises in Richland County (WI).
  2. Loan authority to eligible local food producers and/or small businesses unable to access conventional loans.
  3. Site visits by an Iowa MicroLoan Coach or equivalent local coach for approved technical assistance expense reimbursement may be provided.

$25,000 Youth Counseling – CIP Funds served troubled children (ages 2-14) and their families through the support of a full-time advisor to administer the Youth/Family Advisor Program. Funding also helped fund student fees, transportation and other costs associated with the program.

$25,000 Housing Assistance was provided to address homelessness in Richland County. $22,500 was used to create a Revolving Transitional Housing Fund in support of families participating in the program. Funding will be replenished by families over the course of their two years in the program. $2,500 helped fund an emergency contingency for buildings and maintenance.

RDP Impact

108 jobs retained
73 jobs created

Essential wastewater infrastructure to enable rural economic development

1.7 megawats of renewable energy produced annually - enough to service 1200 homes!

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