Develop Sustainable Electricity from Methane in Urban Solid Waste
The DC Water and Sewer Authority have found a new use for your waste. They plan on capturing methane from the solid waste generated from the Blue Plains Treatment Plant and powering the facility. While already being sustainable and aiding the maintenance of the nutrient cycle by providing local farms with biosolid fertilizer, the plant’s engineers are also seeking to make the plant sustainable in its energy usage.
They receive the majority of their energy from the power plant across the Potomac River in Alexandria, but now seek to power 50% of their plant with the methane siphoned off of the biosolids. A biosolid is essentially a soil-like byproduct made up of what is flushed down the toilet and washed down the sewers from the streets of DC. All this is processed at the same time that the water is being treated and is deposited before the water is reintroduced back into the Potomac. The Blue Plains facility is the District’s largest consumer of electricity. Spending roughly $700,000 per month on their electric bills is a huge number.
The upside of this for local DC residents? Water prices will likely fall once this endeavor is completed because the facility’s operational costs will go down. It looks like it’s a win-win for everyone.