Waste-to-Energy Plant Targets Vermont Industrial Park

Sept. 3, 2019

Facility owners negotiate with municipal plant on sewer usage fees

Owners of an industrial park wastewater treatment plant are clearing hurdles necessary to open the waste-to-energy facility, which is partnering with nearby industrial business tenants.

The Agri-Mark/Cabot cheese plant and Otter Creek Brewing are interested in discharging their high strength wastewater to the waste-to-energy plant owned by PurposeEnergy. PurposeEnergy CEO Eric Fitch said before construction can begin, the facility must first earn air quality permits from the state agency of natural resources, according to the Addison Independent. Additionally, it will need state and local wastewater permits as well as a local variance before it can move forward. 

Connecting to the municipal sewer system creates a challenge due to a surcharge for wastewater usage of $6.78 per 1,000 gal in addition to a high strength wastes fee for any wastewater with more than 250 mg/L of biological oxygen demand and total suspended solids. According to the Addison Independent, Fitch is seeking to negotiate that fee because the PurposeEnergy waste-to-energy plant can treat industrial wastewater to a greater degree than most industrial users, meaning its discharged effluent would be easier for the municipal plant to process and treat.

“Looking at it from the capacity of the treatment plant, you could make an argument we’re actually freeing up capacity in the treatment plant and not taking it,” Fitch told the Middlebury selectboard at a recent meeting, as reported by the Addison Independent. “We’re addressing the bottleneck constraint of the plant — being the organic load — rather than the hydraulic capacity.”

The Vermont industrial park wastewater treatment plant aims to treat 150,000 gal per day of wastewater and is seeking a $15,000 fixed connection fee as a start to negotiations due to the amount of industrial sewage treated and the quality of effluent discharged to the municipal plant. According to the Addison Independent, the Middlebury officials are scheduled to respond to the PurposeEnergy negotiations by Sept. 10.

Also at the plant are cogeneration units that will generate thermal heat in addition to the electrical energy that will run the facility. In his pitch, Fitch said he would be interested in developing business partnerships with nearby industrial users to use the estimated 3 to 4 million Brittish thermal units per hour of recoverable thermal heat.

Read the full article from the Addison Independent.

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