File photo by Engin Akyurt/UnSplash

KAUKAUNA — The Kaukauna Utilities Commission voted unanimously May 23, 2024 to construct state-of-the-art water treatment plants employing reverse osmosis or nanofiltration technology.

The decision comes after an extensive two-year process of studying the water system and engaging the community, according to a news release from Kaukauna Utilities.

“Continuous improvement and customer satisfaction are two of our core values at Kaukauna Utilities,” Michael Avanzi, General Manager of Kaukauna Utilities said in the news release. “With this innovative step towards reverse osmosis or nanofiltration water treatment, we are living out our mission of enhancing quality of life and strengthening the communities we serve.”

Reverse osmosis and nanofiltration are proven water treatment processes utilized throughout the world including in many homes in Kaukauna. The enhanced treatment process will significantly reduce water hardness for residents and businesses in the city.

The benefits for KU customers are many, according to the utilities.

With the adoption of reverse osmosis or nanofiltration, customers can anticipate a marked improvement in water quality, translating to reduced buildup on appliances and fixtures, as well as prolonged appliance lifespans. Moreover, while the use of water softeners remains a personal preference, customers opting to bypass or remove their softeners stand to benefit from reduced monthly expenses on salt and maintenance.

While this project will lead to higher water rates, the anticipated savings on customer expenses are expected to produce an overall reduction in costs. For more detail on projected costs and potential customer savings, see information on the KU website –

Beyond the immediate benefits to water quality and cost savings, Kaukauna’s investment in new filter plants fortifies the city’s water infrastructure, equipped with backup generation to enhance reliability. The new treatment facilities will replace facilities nearing the end of their lifespans.

“The KU Commission has always been dedicated to providing safe, reliable, and affordable water services to our customers,” said Lee Meyerhofer, President of the Kaukauna Utilities Commission. “By implementing this advanced water treatment technology, we are not only addressing current water quality needs but also preparing for the future. We are proud to be stewards of this community, ensuring that KU customers have access to the best possible water. This project reflects KU’s forward-thinking approach and our unwavering commitment to the health and well-being of our community.”

Highlighting the significance of this advancement, Kaukauna joins a select group of municipalities pioneering this treatment process in Wisconsin. With four such plants already approved by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), including those in Waupun, Stanley, Prescott, and Winneconne, Kaukauna’s proactive step underscores its commitment to ensuring the highest standards of water quality and infrastructure resilience.

“Our community stands to benefit immensely from this advanced water treatment technology and updated infrastructure,” said Tony Penterman, City of Kaukauna Mayor. “This project not only ensures that our residents and businesses will have access to the highest quality water, but it also represents a strategic investment in our city’s future.”

The ambitious project’s timeline is set to unfold as follows with the dates below approximate and subject to change:

  • Summer 2024: Begin Engineering Design and Permitting
  • Summer 2025: Project Bidding
  • Fall 2025: Construction Begins
  • Fall 2028: Anticipated Project Completion

Throughout this process, Kaukauna Utilities encourages residents to stay informed via regular updates on its Facebook page and website. As the project progresses, specific instructions regarding water softener removal or bypass will be communicated to ensure a seamless transition for customers.

As Kaukauna prepares to embark on this transformative journey, KU reaffirms its commitment to delivering safe, reliable, and sustainable electric and water services to the community for generations to come.

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By staff