There are many opportunities to enhance community sustainability at your local water renewal facility. The South Plate Water Renewal Facility (SPWRP) consumes 8% of the entire electrical use for all of Englewood. This energy is required to power equipment including large pumps which lift and move the renewed water around the facility. Blowers and other equipment used in the treatment process rely on a continuous supply of electricity to clean the water before it is returned to the South Platte River. Finding ways to reduce the energy consumed is good for customers and the environment.
A variety of efforts are being undertaken which reduce electrical consumption at the water renewal facility. Since 2011, the SPWRP has saved over 9 million kilowatt hours of electricity. This is enough electricity to power over 1000 Englewood homes for a year. Savings have resulted from replacement of lighting and other equipment with more efficient units while looking at each piece of the treatment process to identify opportunities to reduce pumping needs and electrical demands.
Opportunities exist outside of reductions in electricity to increase sustainability. The amount of energy contained in wastewater is over 5 times more than what is needed to treat it. The trick is to find innovative and economic ways to recover this resource from the wastewater. Currently the plant is planning to convert biogas produced by bacteria during the treatment process to renewable natural gas. Instead of burning off excess gas it could then go to good use serving homes and businesses.
The future may hold other opportunities as well. Capturing resources from the water such as phosphorus and ammonia could provide a revenue stream to offset some of the expenses incurred in meeting regulatory limits and protecting the South Platte River. One day the capture of heat energy from that warm shower you took this morning may be a reality.