Camp Courageous raises money for new wastewater system

By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Due to new DNR (Department of Natural Resources) effluent standards regarding wastewater treatment systems throughout Iowa, Camp Courageous in Monticello is having to replacement a system that’s been in place since 1990.

     The project is expected to cost just under $750,000.

     To help offset the enormous cost, Camp started a Go Fund Me page where people can donate any amount toward the cause. In just two weeks, $1,500 has been raised so far by 23 donors.

     “It’s hard to raise money for something like this,” said Camp Director Charlie Becker. The camp does not take in government funding.

     The new system, explained Becker, will be a “complete overhaul” of the old one. He said the old system simply cannot meet the needs of the growing population at Camp Courageous. In 1974 when the camp was established, they were serving 211 campers. Now, over 40 years later, the numbers are close to 7,000.

     “We’re like a small city out here,” said Becker. He said they test the waste water system daily due top state regulations.

     Becker said the DNR has been great to work with. He plans to see the majority of the work start yet this spring, with the project completed by the end of 2018.

     “We’re just bettering what we have,” said Becker.

     Whether the funding is in place of not, Becker said the camp has to install a new wastewater treatment system. He said all of the hype circulating right now about camp closing or serving fewer campers is just not true.

     The project will do completed in two phases. The first process will involve improving the capacity of the system. According to the Go Fund Me page, “septic tanks will be used for the main treatment and storage of sludge, being removed periodically via a septic-truck. Next is an equalization basin to assist during peak hour flows. These two are for primary treatment.”

     The second phase “begins with the discharge moving through a two-stage moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) for ammonia and other pollutant removal. A clarification tank will then reduce the solids, and finally the discharge will travel through a filter area. For the final disinfection phase the chlorine disinfection and dechlorination unit of the present system will be used, but updated with a new pump. The dual system will be designed as two identical systems mirroring each other. For peak periods both will be used, but during out-of-season, one will be turned down.”

     “The system has been upgraded over the years,” said Becker. “It’s just time to put in a new one.”

     To help support the project, visit their Go Fund Me Page at “CC Waste Water Treatment Project.”

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