Everybody is seeking ways to go greener, including communities seeking opportunities for more energy-efficient operations. One such opportunity that offers excellent potential is your WWTP (wastewater treatment plant). Wastewater and water treatment consumes as much as 2% of the entire electricity production in the US. Rising treatment and maintenance levels are anticipated to make operational costs to increase by between 30% and 40% over the coming 20 years.
There are several ways to decrease WWTPs’ energy consumption, which could boost the bottom line or offer regulatory-rate relief to community citizens. Even if your plant is functioning at optimum efficiency, you could benefit now or later from the following recommendations for decreasing the carbon footprint of your plant.
1. Upgrade your pump stations
A significant part of any utility’s energy usage is related to one or more pump stations utilized in virtually all communities’ collection system. Typically, older pumps were designed to function via on/off cycling and at a single speed. Today’s motor/pump/drive combinations are a lot more efficient over a much wider flow range. Upgrading older pumps could produce long-lasting maintenance and operational savings. Cheap and more dependable variable frequency drives could also be utilized in matching flow rates with pump speeds, further decreasing energy requirements.
2. Optimize aeration
The aeration system of any activated sludge wastewater treatment plant is responsible for more than 50% of its yearly electricity usage. You could have aeration optimized by upgrading air distribution system components and blowers with variable frequency drives and also installing dissolved oxygen control systems, which could reduce the electricity consumption of the blowers in your wastewater treatment plant. If your blowers are aging, consider having them replaced with a high-efficiency, single turbo blower, which features a truly wide range of operation and could be controlled according to dissolved oxygen. Is your diffuser system aging? If yes, having your diffuser grid replaced with new ultra-fine-pore or fine-pore diffusers will enhance the efficiency of oxygen transfer and decrease the amount of air required for treatment.
3. Enhance sludge management
The processes for handling solids utilize more than 20% of the energy at any wastewater treatment facility, and pumping as well as disposing of solids needs energy at every single step of the way. Options for saving energy and money are quite abundant, from minimizing transported solids and water to using biogas in heating water and producing electricity, also referred to as co-generation.
4. Go light on disinfection
Eliminate expensive and dangerous chemicals by having your chlorine disinfection replaced with a UV (ultraviolet) light disinfection system. Dechlorination chemicals and chlorine are quite costly and energy-intensive to produce and transport. The usage of energy by UV disinfection systems is quite minimal, and the decommissioning of dangerous chlorine disinfection systems is a key safety benefit.
As you can now see, there are lots of varying sustainable solutions within the area of wastewater processes that could help your community to maximize efficiency as well as minimize the carbon footprint of its water treatment system. The sooner you start to implement these listed solutions, the faster your ‘brown’ would be transformed into ‘green’, and even help you to save some significant green as well as cash. So, why don’t you begin to use the solutions?