Bacteria: The Real Workers at WLSSD

Before WLSSD began treating wastewater from homes and businesses in the Duluth and Cloquet area in 1978, the St. Louis River was not much better than a sewer. Dirty water was often dumped directly into the river. People did not come to fish or swim; fish kills and big mats of sludge were not uncommon sights.

Today, the St. Louis River is a much nicer place, a place where people enjoy boating (like the Vista Fleet!), fishing and swimming. WLSSD played a large role in the river’s recovery by treating dirty water before it was returned to the river using an engineered process that mimics what happens in nature.
In WLSSD’s River Quest presentation, students will see samples of dirty water and learn about the process WLSSD uses to clean it. Students will see tiny, living microorganisms used in wastewater treatment through the use of a microscope and television screen.

Other Learning Stations

Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Louis River Quest Volunteers
City of Duluth – Utility Operations
U.S. Coast Guard & USCG Auxiliary
Minnesota Power/Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center
Duluth Seaway Port Authority
MN DNR Scientific and Natural Areas Program
USDA Forest Service/Superior National Forest
Western Lake Superior Sanitary District
Minnesota Sea Grant Program