WSSC Bio-Energy Project Converts Sewage into Power

May 18, 2018

The project is estimated to save approximately $3 million per year

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) in Laurel, Md., has announced the approval of the first phase in a $250 million project that will see the organization utilize sewage in order to generate renewable energy. The Piscataway Bio-Energy Project will be constructed to augment the Piscataway Water Resource Recovery Facility in Prince George’s County.

The approval of the first phase involves a $44 million contract that allows the organization to begin the design phase, as well as preliminary construction.

“The Piscataway Bio-Energy Project will save our customers more than $3 million per year and underscores our commitment to green energy,” said WSSC General Manager and CEO Carla A. Reid. “WSSC has always been at the forefront of innovation and this transformative project continues our innovative spirit. Through cutting-edge technology, we will be able to recover vital resources from the wastewater treatment process and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”

The technology to be implemented in this new project will essentially alter how the organization handles biosolids, the nutrient-rich byproduct of the treatment process. Using the “green” technology will allow the plant to reduce the volume of biosolids left over after the completion of treatment, and what is left will be substantially cleaner than in prior processes. This will save costs on lime used for odor control.

This process of creating cleaner biosolids will also allow the plant to generate renewable fuel that can then be reapplied to the facility for energy as it creates methane gas. This will likely reduce the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 15%. Phase Two of the project is expected to begin in the fall of 2019, while the completion and operation of the project is expected in the spring of 2024.