Operational Savings from Energy Performance Contract Expected to Cover Cost of Improvements to Water Reclamation Plant
Frederick Winchester Service Authority’s (FWSA) Opequon Water Reclamation Facility helps to preserve water quality in Chesapeake Bay, meeting requirements for nitrogen and phosphorus removal. After a recent upgrade to reach new, more stringent nutrient limits of 4mg/L TN and 0.3 mg/L TP, the utility faced increased operating costs in addition to the significant additional debt service. Black & Veatch put together an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) to help guide the facility through its changes.
The $45 million performance contract is for the design and construction of comprehensive energy efficiency and infrastructure improvements at the 12.6 million gallons per day (mgd) reclamation facility. The improvements will reduce operating costs enough to cover the debt service on the project, pay for other needed plant improvements, and defray costs for the previous upgrade.
The centerpiece of the improvements project is a new green energy facility. It is designed to produce methane gas, a renewable fuel, through anaerobic digestion of municipal sludge and high-strength organic waste. The methane gas will be used to generate up to 848 kilowatts of electricity, meeting at startup more than 50 percent of the water reclamation facility’s energy needs.
The green energy facility also will feature a new sludge dewatering process to reduce its use of chemicals and reduce by half the amount of biosolids needing to be hauled away as landfill. The operational savings from these efficiency improvements are expected to cover the cost of the project.
Additionally, phosphorus, an essential ingredient in fertilizer and crop production, will be harvested from the wastewater stream, creating a possible revenue stream for FWSA. Finally, FWSA will benefit from a significant additional revenue stream through the disposal fees paid by local industries for the treatment of their high-strength waste.
Treatment plant improvements being designed under the contract include anaerobic digestion, the dewatering process, struvite (phosphorus) harvesting, the electrical system, and a more efficient aeration system.
In partnership with Energy Systems Group, which signed the performance contract with FWSA, Black & Veatch is providing design services from concept development through construction, plus startup and commissioning services for the project.