Covanta’s Delaware Valley energy-from-waste facility in Chester, Pa., has saved 1.3 million gal per day (mgd) of drinking water by installing GE’s advanced RePAK water reuse technology in the power plant’s cooling tower. GE presented Covanta with the Return on Environment (ROE) award to recognize the company for its noteworthy reductions in water usage.
The Chester facility generates up to 90 MW of clean energy from 3,510 tons per day of municipal solid waste. Previously, the plant used 1.3 mgd—or nearly 5 million liters per day—of municipal drinking water in its waste conversion process, costing the company thousands of dollars in daily water purchases.
To reduce facility operating expenses and the consumption of local water resources, Covanta Delaware Valley upgraded the facility by installing GE’s RePAK combination ultrafiltration (UF) and reverse osmosis (RO) system as a tertiary treatment package. The new system enabled the plant to reuse 1.3 mgd of treated discharge water from a nearby municipal wastewater treatment plant for the facility’s cooling tower.
GE installed two RePAK-450 trains, each producing 450 gal per minute of purified water. As a result, Covanta Delaware Valley has eliminated the need to purchase 1.3 mgd of local drinking water a day, which results in a substantial financial savings in addition to the extremely favorable environmental benefits.
“By installing GE’s water treatment technology, we are able to reuse the nearby wastewater treatment plant’s wastewater effluent that otherwise would have been directly discharged, enabling us to save over a million gallons per day in drinking water for local residents rather than using it for industrial purposes. Not only are we reducing the stress on local drinking supplies, but also the environmental impacts of the wastewater treatment plant and the use of potable water by our facility,” said Tim Gregan, facility manager, Covanta Delaware Valley.
GE’s RePAK equipment was delivered in 2014, with commissioning taking place the same year, making Covanta Delaware Valley the first North American company to deploy the technology.
The ROE award is an award honoring a significant environmental (water, energy, resource) accomplishment. During the ROE three-tier selection process, GE examined set goals as well as the achieved environmental, operational and financial benefits, ultimately recognizing Covanta and its water savings for significantly surpassing and improving environmental and industrial operational goals while balancing industrial demands.
“This project highlights the significant economic and environmental benefits that North American industrial companies can achieve when they decide to make an investment in water reuse technologies,” said Yuvbir Singh, general manager, engineered systems—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water.
Covanta chose a combined treatment technology approach because the typical organic and dissolved mineral content of the wastewater requires additional treatment to be suitable for use as cooling tower makeup. RO was selected as the technology of choice, and UF was required as the pretreatment solution.
GE’s RePAK combined treatment system can reduce the equipment footprint up to 35% as compared to separate UF and RO systems. By combining the UF and RO into a common frame with common controls and a single multi-functional process tank, GE also is able to reduce the capital costs and field installation expenses when compared to the use of separate UF system and RO systems with multiple process and cleaning tanks.