Wastewater treatment, Milwaukee pilot system unveiled

Marquette University and Rapid Radicals Technology on Thursday unveiled a pilot system designed to help treat wastewater and prevent sewer overflows.

"Our technology treats wastewater in less than 30 minutes, which is about 22 times faster than conventional wastewater treatment," said Paige Peters, a Marquette graduate and founder of Rapid Radicals Technology.

The partnership behind the system said it is quick, does not take up much space and is cost-effective.

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"The goal being we can put it at these locations where these untreated discharges go into lakes and rivers, treating it to water quality and protecting water quality and integrity," Peters said.

What does it mean for Milwaukee residents? When they flush the toilet, it goes to the sewer and is then treated. But when a treatment pipe fills up, such as during heavy rain, an overflow might go into effect – releasing that untreated water into rivers and lakes.

Rapid Radicals Technology pilot wastewater treatment system

"In this area there are 170 locations where sewage overflows can happen," said Peters.

Peters said the system's two-step process filters out harmful things like unwanted bacteria in the water supply. While it's still being determined where the technology will go, she hopes to make waves in changing the community's water.

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"For us, it’s to make sure our communities and generations can continue enjoying these beautiful bodies of water that Milwaukee sits on," said Peters.

There was an overflow alert this past February. The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District said overflows can happen about twice a year.