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Home » Canadian wastewater treatment facility plans to add heat recovery system to condition buildings

Canadian wastewater treatment facility plans to add heat recovery system to condition buildings

The utility plans to use the sewage and wastewater it treats to heat four of its buildings in an effort to cut electricity use. The incoming material from toilets, showers, sinks and washing machines is about 8°C. This is warm enough that utility management company, TransAqua, wants to tap into using a heat recovery system for a heating and cooling system.

According to TransAqua general manager, Kevin Rice, the new system is expected to also reduce the facility’s net greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 22%. 

“We need to think outside the box and say, how can we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions even more?” Rice said. “So this is something that is significant.”

Part of the facility’s existing wastewater treatment process involves blowing warm air into the water in a section of the plant called the bioreactor that helps break down organic material.

That brings its temperature up to about 10°C. It’s at that point, when the effluent is already cleaner than what’s come into the plant, that the new system would be used. It would heat and cool a new building for ultraviolet disinfection, a sludge thickening building and a sludge de-watering building.

“So instead of using our expensive air conditioning systems and expensive heat systems, the amount of temperature that’s drawn from the wastewater would be able to reduce those costs significantly,” Rice notes. 

The utility worked with NB Power’s industrial energy efficiency staff to evaluate the idea.

Marc Belliveau, a spokesperson for NB Power, said it helped cover the cost of a feasibility study by TransAqua. 

Rice said the study suggests the utility would save around USD33 000 on its annual power costs with the addition.

Rice further notes the cost of the new system would be covered in part through an NB Power energy efficiency programme by offsetting TransAqua’s power bill over time.

Rice said discussions with the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association’s energy efficiency committee led him to believe TransAqua will be among the first wastewater utilities in Canada to implement a system of this nature.

Robert Haller, executive director of the association said, “As municipal utilities work toward long term sustainability, it is innovative projects like this that will be an example for all.”

Source: CBC News