A report presenting the results of a Water Environment Research Foundation project funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provides insights into how a number of utilities have taken a lead as energy neutrality champions in their wastewater treatment activities.
The project explored the experiences of five utilities drawn from 46 in the US and Australia who completed a survey.
One utility from Australia was selected, Melbourne Water, with the case study focusing on its Western Treatment Plant, a basic secondary treatment plant with biogas cogeneration achieving a reported 76% site energy neutrality.
In the US, the case studies are: Philadelphia Water Department’s Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant, a basic secondary treatment plant with biogas cogeneration achieving a reported 54% neutrality; Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts’ Joint Water Pollution Control Plant, a basic secondary treatment plant with biogas cogeneration achieving a reported 51% neutrality; Johnson County Wastewater’s Douglas L Smith Middle Basin Water Treatment Plant, a biological nutrient removal facility with biogas cogeneration using fats, oils and grease from local restaurants achieving a reported 21% neutrality; and the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility of the City and Town of Ithaca and the Town of Dryden, New York, a basic secondary treatment plant with biogas cogeneration, using waste from Cornell University and achieving a reported 22% neutrality.
Based on the experiences evaluated in the report, the authors noted that success came from the people involved, the staff, managers and governing boards, having similar approaches: showing commitment to a set of long-term goals, supporting internal advocates to lead change, and creating an environment for exploring untested strategies.
The chances of success were influenced greatly by having a clear energy plan with goals, collaborating to get input of expertise, allowing staff to develop expertise, and being aware of costs and exploring funding opportunities.
The report also offers insights gained from the paths followed by the ‘energy champions’ that could be of value to others pursuing energy neutrality, covering technical aspects such as the benefits of co-digestion and broader matters such as gaining support from communities and politicians by spreading a message of ‘green renewable energy’.
‘Demonstrated Energy Neutrality Leadership: A Study of Five Champions of Change’, Steve Tarallo, Andrew Shaw, Erica Zamenski (Black & Veatch), Paul Kohl (Philidelphia Water Department), Ralph Eschborn (AECOM), and Ned Beecher (North East Biosolids and Residuals Association). WERF Report ENER1C12b.
Available from Water Environment Research Foundation: www.werf.org
Co-published by IWA Publishing (ISBN: 978-1-78040-745-6): www.iwapublishing.com
- USA, Australia, municipal wastewater, energy efficiency