Flushing Money Down the Drain; Innovations Can Turn Biosolids Into Profit, Reduce Municipal Expenses
This is some good stuff — at least, Valley leaders believe so as they pursue innovations to turn our waste into money.
Water treatment creates an inevitable expense for municipalities and millions of homeowners flush their toilets day after day; but a pair of local projects aim to use solid waste by-products to reduce emissions and save money for local taxpayers.
Last week, a group of municipal leaders cut the ribbon on a new facility at the 91st Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant, 5615 S. 91st Ave., Tolleson, which will capture methane naturally produced by collected biosolids and turn it into usable natural gas.
Built through a public-private partnership with international renewable energy concern Ameresco, the facility provides a boon to the community, according to Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.
“This innovative partnership allows us to turn waste into resource by converting biogas, a by-product of wastewater treatment, into renewable energy. This not only benefits our regional economy, but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions,” stated Ms. Gallego in an Ameresco release.
Company officials claimed the plant is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and is capable of processing 3,250 cubic feet per minute of gas from the treatment plant.
The “cleaned” biogas is compressed and shipped to market via pipeline, while a portion of the resulting profits will benefit the partner municipalities, including Phoenix, Glendale, Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe.
“This renewable energy resource will not only provide valuable environmental benefits to the local area, it will also provide tangible economic benefits to the partner cities through a royalty payment from Ameresco for the purchase of the raw biogas,” according to an Ameresco-produced fact sheet.
The company said the plant, in addition to creating revenue for the project partners, will provide a significant reduction in emissions — resulting in a carbon dioxide emissions reduction equivalent to more than 70,000 passenger vehicles or nearly 900,000 barrels of oil on an annual basis.