Wisconsin Installers Blast Their Way to Success for a New System

A mixed-use development in a Wisconsin tourist region requires explosives to install an onsite system ready-built for many different purposes.
Wisconsin Installers Blast Their Way to Success for a New System
Nick Follen, rear, and Quin Lutze, front, set bundles of EZflow in one of the 65-foot-long laterals for the drainfield at Jandu Petroleum.

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A business project in northeastern Wisconsin required a wastewater system to suit not only immediate needs, but for potential uses the owner was not sure would come to pass. Combine that with difficult local geology, and there were many uncertainties. Four companies teamed up to meet the challenge.

Jandu Petroleum intended to establish a new business along a main road carrying tourists from Chicago, Milwaukee and elsewhere to Wisconsin’s Door County recreation area. The site’s location between two small communities is a natural for a convenience store providing gasoline, snacks and other goods to travelers.

In addition to the gas station and convenience store on the 28-acre site, the building included an empty 1,000-square-foot space that was just the size for a fast food restaurant, or perhaps for a retail store. There could be a car wash, too, or not. In addition, the site has sufficient space for a second building for a future undetermined business that might also be connected to the wastewater system serving the primary building.

“When we designed the system, we assumed the maximum possible load. If that 1,000 square feet eventually becomes a retail store and not a restaurant, it will mean we greatly overestimated the daily flow into the system,’’ says engineer Pete Hurth, of Baudhuin Inc. in nearby Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. “But not having a restaurant may allow a car wash to be added, provided there would also be a grit settling tank and some pretreatment.” A state permit would still be necessary because of the strength of the wastewater.

The future on this corner lot depends on the actual amount and strength of wastewater coming into the system, and that is to be monitored this year. If the flow is less than the designed 3,000 gpd and 9 pounds of BOD per day, the system could accommodate other connections. Hurth says he is not an expert on car washes but understands they use about 65 gallons per wash, which can drop to about 20 gallons with recycling.

System components

  • 1,000-gallon tank from Wieser Concrete for grease interception
  • Three 3,000-gallon Wieser tanks
  • 5,000-gallon Wieser tank
  • Polylok Inc. / Zabel 525 filter
  • Four Red Jacket 1 hp pumps
  • 1/2 hp Red Jacket effluent pump
  • Bio-Microbics HighStrengthFAST 4.5 unit
  • 1,560 linear feet of EZflow by Infiltrator
  • Orenco Systems control panel

Wastewater emerges from the building through a 6-inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe and runs about 100 feet to the first of the Wieser 3,000-gallon tanks, which serves as a settling tank. A separate 20-foot-long run of Schedule 40 pipe has been laid from the drain in what may become the fast food restaurant kitchen to the 1,000-gallon grease tank. A 13-foot run of Schedule 40 pipe will join this flow to the 6-inch line.

From the settling tank, water flows through the Polylok filter and about 4 feet through Schedule 80 pipe and into a 3,000-gallon equalization tank. Here the 1/2 hp effluent pump doses the Bio-Microbics unit in the 5,000-gallon tank through 5 feet of Schedule 80 pipe. The last tank, another 3,000-gallon, is the dosing tank where the four 1 hp pumps send water through 3-inch force mains varying in length from 511 feet to 592 feet.

At the other end is the drainfield, consisting of four zones, each comprised of three 133-foot-long trenches. Distribution lines cut through the middle of the zones and feed 65-foot-long laterals of EZflow on each side. Valves splitting the laterals are covered by inspection boxes and covers from NDS.

Site restrictions

Those long runs to the drainfield were necessary because of the site’s geology. The field consumed the single high spot with adequate soil depth. Elsewhere the subsurface consists of soil over bedrock, in some places as little as 12 inches of soil.

“All the laterals leading to the tanks, the holes for the tanks, and about 50 feet of trenches past the tank were all blasted through bedrock,” says Greg Chaudoir of Soil Specialists, the installing company out of Sturgeon Bay. “That’s hired out because it’s such a specialty. The blasting was complete before anybody was there, even before the building was started.”

“Blasting is common in this part of the world because of all the rock,” Hurth says. The broken rock was left in place. “The limestone up here fractures easily, so the largest chunks are at most 4 feet wide and light enough so two guys can lift one.”

“We used it all on the site,” Chaudoir says. “We used it to fill in around the building and to fill the parking lot.”

He used 3/4-inch clear stone around the tanks and lines to support them and prevent settling. All his equipment for the job was John Deere: a compact 210 track loader, a 333 track loader and a 650 bulldozer.

“It went in real slick,” says Jim Beagnall, of Eagle Mechanical in Sturgeon Bay, whose company did the plumbing work.

“One reason we use Wieser is they do a great job of delivering and setting tanks. All of those went in over the course of a single day,” Beagnall says.

“I was concerned about the wind. We had a whole semi load of EZflow sitting out there so we tied it to a utility pole, and it didn’t move despite a few days when the winds were faster than 20 mph.”

Technology to cut costs

Gathering information from the system is done wirelessly. A Cradlepoint IBR650-VZ modem works through the cellular phone system and allows a technician to dial in and download data, says Tony Birrittieri of Petersen Onsite, Fredonia, Wisconsin. His company supplied components for the Jandu system and helped with installation.

Of course the modem alerts technicians about a malfunction, but the software also allows full control: overriding floats, changing dosing or other operating parameters, turning pumps on and off, and turning the blower on and off. “All communications are dialed back to 1G cellphone speed. There are no big graphics or large amounts of data being transferred. It’s all small bits of text. Because the cost to move these small amounts of information is so low, we can build it into the price of the panel so the owner has no monthly operating fee and saves money in the long run,” Birrittieri says. “When you consider the cost of driving to a site to retrieve information or change a system’s operation, the cost of the panel and data service is minute,” he says.

If it turns out that the large system isn’t needed, Hurth says, operators can ease the soil loading by keeping two zones dry for a while and then activating them while idling the other two.

Whatever the ultimate shape of the business, the site will be ready for any future thanks to the wastewater professionals hired for the project.


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