Save Money with Sustainability

This city aims at energy savings by going to net zero energy at its wastewater treatment plant.

Many companies and organizations pledge to "go green." But it's rare for an entire city to make that pledge and then take steps to achieve it. Over the past several years, the City of Gresham, Oregon has set out to fulfill its vision to achieve net zero energy at its wastewater treatment plant.

In 2005, the Gresham City Council chose to integrate a biogas system into its wastewater treatment plant to generate power and heat from the naturally-occurring biosolids in wastewater.
With a population of 100,000 people, Gresham needed a partner with the experience and technical expertise to manage plant operations to reduce energy usage while ensuring the biogas system could be run 90% of the time. The city chose Veolia as its private partner to help implement a best-in-class operation for its wastewater program.

Now, more than half of the wastewater plant's energy comes from biosolids that occur naturally in the wastewater process. The facility is also home to the Pacific Northwest's largest solar array. Gresham is also experimenting with other forms of energy production, including the installation of additional renewable energy systems and generating energy from grease waste.

The other half of energy independence comes from reducing energy use. Veolia has worked closely with the city to reduce the facility's average energy use and is using an asset management program to increase the life of the city's assets and further reduce energy usage.

With the help of Veolia, Gresham's efforts towards sustainability have garnered recognition from national and regional organizations and environmental agencies, moving closer to the city's vision of sustainability.

Looking eastward to a much colder city, Veolia North America recently signed a contract with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) that is estimated to save MMSD customers tens of millions of dollars over 20 years. The agreement includes the construction of a low-pressure, "green" pipeline to transport landfill gas from Veolia's Emerald Park Landfill in Muskego to downtown Milwaukee, where it will fuel three new turbines at the MMSD's Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility. The project is expected to be operational by 2013.

The Veolia North America Emerald Park Landfill currently produces enough landfill gas to meet approximately 50% of MMSD's current fuel needs at Jones Island. It is projected that the landfill will be able to supply all MMSD fuel needs - with renewable energy - for the Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility by 2025, with excess power being sold back to the power company. In addition, the use of methane, or landfill gas, is projected to have a combined reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Could you save money by reducing energy usage? Call us at 312-552-2800 or email us and we can help you answer this question.

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