EPA Offers Fact Sheet On Energy Conservation and Wastewater Treatment

Last month, EPA announced the release of a fact sheet to help municipal and utility managers and operators in evaluating ways to reduce energy consumption within wastewater treatment plants.

Continual increases in energy costs in the United States affect wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) just as they do other facilities. Energy costs can account for 30 percent of the total operation and maintenance (O&M) costs of WWTPs, and WWTPs account for approximately 3 percent of the electric load in the United States.

Furthermore, as populations grow and environmental requirements become more stringent, demand for electricity at such plants is expected to grow by approximately 20 percent over the next 15 years. Energy conservation is thus an issue of increasing importance to WWTPs.

Technical and cost information on a variety of energy management techniques and new energy efficient equipment can be used to reduce a utility's energy bills.

"Saving energy saves money for water utilities and their ratepayers," said Benjamin H. Grumbles.

The fact sheet also includes information on ways to produce energy onsite by using solar cells, microturbines, fuel cells and effective utilization of bio-gas that can be produced in biosolids processing. In addition, several case studies of energy savings at utilities have been documented.

The fact sheet states that the key components of an effective energy management plan are:

  • Creating a system to track energy usage and costs
  • Performing energy audits of major operations
  • Upgrading equipment, systems, and controls, including facility and collection system improvements to increase energy efficiency
  • Developing a cost-effective electric supply purchasing strategy
  • Optimizing load profiles by shifting operations where possible
  • Developing in-house energy management training for operators

The fact sheet can be accessed in PDF format at http://epa.gov/owm/mtb/energycon_fasht_final.pdf.

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