The San Antonio Water System (SAWS) and the energy solutions company, Ameresco, have entered into a 20-year partnership to treat 900,000 cubic feet of gas and transfer it to a neighboring commercial gas pipeline and sell it on an open market, according to a statement. “In return, SAWS ratepayers will receive a royalty on the sale of the gas, estimated at $200,000 a year, reducing the cost of SAWS operations and keeping rates affordable,” said the statement.
SAWS previously burned off the biosolids using flares, so the new recycling plan represents a major turning point for the public utility owned by the city of San Antonio. The biosolids are reused and composted for landscaping, gardening, and other agricultural purposes. And 115 million gallons of recycled water are generated to supply parks, riverfronts, golf courses, and other public real estate.
“The biogas project is the first sustainable project of its kind in the nation, capturing biogas generated during the sewage treatment process and selling it through a commercial gas pipeline,” according to the press release.
“By reusing biogas instead of burning it off, we are helping protect the city’s air quality and developing a renewable energy resource,” said Robert R. Puente, SAWS president/CEO.