Ratepayers are getting a great deal on big projects now underway at our South Treatment Plant in Renton, thanks to generous grants from Puget Sound Energy.
Though wastewater treatment is our region’s No. 1 water pollution prevention system, the treatment process requires a lot of energy.
That’s why energy efficiency is a top priority when we plan upgrades and replace aging equipment, and the reason PSE’s financial support makes these projects an even smarter investment.
A PSE conservation grant worth $226,547 will cover 17 percent of the cost of a $1.3 million project to replace the plant’s aeration diffuser membranes.
The diffusers are soft rubber disks with tiny holes that pump vital oxygen into wastewater during the secondary treatment process so microorganisms can break down pollutants.
It’s important to pump enough oxygen to keep these “good bugs” happy, but not so much that we’re wasting energy.
With the new energy efficient diffusers, South Plant will save about $52,000 a year in electricity costs. The amount of energy saved, 755,157 kilowatt hours, is enough to power 63 homes for an entire year. The grant funding will be awarded when the project is completed in late 2016.
In addition to the cost and energy savings, the new diffusers will also make the treatment process more efficient and reduce potential for odor.
We also received a PSE grant worth $849,970 on a $16 million project to replace raw sewage pumps, motors and drives that have been in use for about 50 years.
The new energy efficient equipment will save 2 million kilowatt hours of electricity and $135,000 in annual energy costs. That’s enough energy to power 166 homes for a year.
Plus, the newer equipment will be more reliable and give operators the flexibility to control motor speed to match flows. The grant funding is expected when the project is completed in 2018.
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