Maryland provides $25M for WSSC Water bioenergy facility

April 7, 2023
The state’s Board of Public Works approved loans and loan forgiveness to help the water utility construct the Piscataway Bioenergy facility, which will handle biosolids from wastewater treatment.

The Maryland Board of Public Works has approved an estimated $25 million in loans and loan forgiveness to WSSC Water to help Maryland’s largest water utility consturct the Piscataway Bioenergy Project.

The estimated $22.5 million loan and up to $2.5 million in additional loan forgiveness from the Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund will help fund the ongoing design and construction of WSSC Water’s Piscataway Bioenergy facility in Accokeek, Maryland, in Prince George’s County.

At the heart of the project is how WSSC Water handles biosolids, the nutrient-rich organic material resulting from the wastewater treatment process. WSSC Water’s five major water resource recovery facilities currently produce about 8,000 tons of biosolids monthly. Through innovative technology, the amount of biosolids left over from the new treatment process will be significantly reduced and cleaner (Class A).

Creating these Class-A biosolids will generate methane gas, which will be captured and upgraded to renewable natural gas (RNG) that WSSC Water will sell on the open market. Selling RNG will generate Renewable Fuel Credits, which can be sold to generate additional revenue for WSSC Water.

“The Piscataway Bioenergy Project is about creating green jobs, protecting our waterways and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said WSSC Water General Manager and CEO Kishia L. Powell. “This innovative project will generate revenue and save our customers more than $3 million annually by reducing operating costs.”

A portion of the loan, $3 million, is the first funding WSSC Water has received under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed into law by President Biden in November 2021.

Construction began in the spring of 2019 and is expected to be substantially complete by November 2024.