Skip to main content

Environmental Science

Wastewater Treatment Facility Partnership

Environmental science students at Carthage are getting their hands dirty these days — and helping the City of Kenosha Wastewater Treatment Facility operate more efficiently in the process.

Since 2007, the City of Kenosha Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) has been working with the Carthage College Environmental Science Program to investigate how the treatment facility can reduce its energy consumption. The initial efforts of this unique collaboration have led to a $5,000 grant from Focus on Energy to continue their research for the next year. If successful, their findings could lead to reductions of up to 1,000,000 kWh/yr and savings of up to $50,000/yr for the WWTF.

Historically, the WWTF has used large blowers to oxygenate their aeration tanks at a level of 4-5 ppm of dissolved oxygen (DO). This level of aeration is required to break down filamentous bacteria that can cause bulking problems if left untreated in the tanks. However, this amount of aeration requires significant input of energy. Other treatment plants have been successful at lowering their oxygen demands below 2.0 mg/l DO without causing filamentous growth to occur. However, when the Kenosha WWTF has attempted to operate at a reduced DO, the aeration tanks have always been taken over by filamentous organisms.

In come the environmental scientists at Carthage. During the spring semester of 2007, students in an environmental science class (ENVS 161, co-taught by Profs. Tracy Gartner and Joy Mast) partnered with the WWTF. Their work resulted in a preliminary study report that combined literature and laboratory research to identify potential causes and provide suggestions to eliminate the problem. Based on these suggestions, the plant altered the chemical (ferrous chloride) that they use to remove phosphorus from the wastewater to a chemical (ferric chloride) that uses less oxygen to bind to phosphorus. Since the switch, the WWTF has not had problems with bulking, even though two of their blowers were temporarily off-line, reducing overall DO in the tanks.

With this promising start, the Kenosha WWTF is assembling and operating a pilot facility in which additional suggestions from the preliminary report can be tested. The ultimate goal of this study would be to verify the best modification for Kenosha WWTF to implement in order to reduce the DO and save energy.

Students from Carthage’s Environmental Science Program will assist the City in the operation and record keeping of data during the duration of the study. The continued involvement of Carthage students may serve to attract students to a profession in which staff will be vitally needed, as approximately 50 percent of the present staff involved with wastewater treatment will be at their retirement age within the next five to 10 years. This interfacing of Carthage with the WWTF showcases the mutual value of linking local colleges and universities with municipal services.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

    Previous
    Next