Dean Kelch

Dean Kelch

Chief Plant Operator

Ph. (402) 228-5221

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Water Pollution Control (WPC)


Treatment Facilities

The first treatment facility, a primary and secondary treatment plant, was built in Beatrice in 1958.  Up until 1959 when this treatment plant began operating, raw sewage was simply released into the Big Blue River.

Big Blue River

In order to ensure that downstream users would have the best water quality possible, public officials decided to pursue primary and secondary treatment in order to provide more effective treatment and a cleaner effluent that would be released back into the Big Blue River. The original waste water treatment plant had a 25 year design life and was considered state of the art in 1959.  We were able to operate the original treatment plant for 24 years before advancing rules and regulations forced us to update our facility.  That treatment plant received twelve awards from State agencies for its excellence in operation. Since Beatrice began the operation of their treatment plant facility, the environmental issues dealing with waste water have evolved at a rapid rate.  In 1975, the EPA and the State of Nebraska implemented new rules and regulations that declared the original treatment facility was obsolete.  After an extensive study, a new waste water treatment facility was recommended, and in 1981 construction began. This facility had a 20 year design life and was constructed on the site that contained the original facility. While the new facility was being built, the old treatment facility continued to operate so that untreated waste water would not be discharged into the Big Blue River.  In 1983 the new treatment facility was put on-line and operation began. Beatrice was issued the first water quality based discharge permit to operate a waste water treatment facility in the State of Nebraska.  The present waste water treatment facility has received eight awards for excellence of operation.  In 1997 we had to update the new treatment plant to include disinfection.  After intensive research, ultraviolet disinfection was installed. Ultraviolet disinfection involves channeling waste water effluent through banks of ultraviolet lights, which kills bacteria without chemicals that could contain harmful residuals that would have to be removed before the waste water could be released into the Big Blue River.  All of the updates have been completed and the system is operational.


In 1981, during the planning stages of the new treatment facility, it was determined that sludge treatment would be required.  The City of Beatrice chose composting as a sludge treatment in the hope that a usable end product would come from this type of sludge treatment.  A compost pad was built on the treatment plant site. This compost process has worked very well, however; it didn't take long to outgrow that facility, as we discovered more things to compost with our sludge.


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