Washington DC should be the first city in the U.S. to start using thermal hydrolysis to convert biosolids from wastewater into renewable methane. The facility at Blue Plains then uses the methane to feed into three giant turbines which produce electricity at a net of 10 megawatts.
Clean Technica reports:
“At a price tag of $470 million, the new thermal hydrolysis system has been 10 years in the making, and it adds a significant new layer of waste reclamation to the busy Blue Plains wastewater treatment plant. That’s no accident — Blue Plains is operated by the utility DC Water, which is well known for its in-house wastewater treatment R&D.
At peak flow, Blue Plains handles 1 billion gallons of wastewater daily from Washington, DC (yes, that includes the Capitol) as well as several neighboring jurisdictions, making it the biggest plant of its kind in the world. By way of comparison, New York City produces about 1.3 billion gallons daily on average, but that’s parceled out among 14 different treatment plants in all five boroughs.
Even without the new system, Blue Plains is already the largest wastewater treatment plant in the world to deploy tertiary treatment, nitrification/denitrification. That’s part of a broader program to keep pollutants out of the Chesapeake Bay watershed (the plant discharges into the Potomac River).”
This facility is predicted to be just the first of many and is certainly a step forward in wastewater management, looking toward a sustainable, less polluted future.
In 2015, Ross enjoyed visiting the Blue Plains Waste Water Treatment Plant in Washington DC for a meeting on infrastructure management with DC Water staff. It is an impressive facility, which is multiple upgrade cycles operating.
When considering wastewater treatment facilities in your infrastructure management planning, it is important to remember that community expectations around environmental protection are changing, which results in legislation, regulation, and changing permit requirements. These all have a cost associated with them.
Resulting from these level of service changes (higher treatment standards required) often the upgrading and improvement of wastewater treatment facilities is driven by these changes, and not physical renewal or replacement requirements.
Consider the cycle of these level of service changes, and how they will impact on your upgrading and replacement programs.
Inframanage.com’s observation is that the wastewater treatment plant upgrading cycle might be much shorter than you first think.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ross Waugh