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Oakland’s Water Treatment Plant Generates Its Own Energy and Then Some' - Circle of Blue

OAKLAND, Ca. (2015) – Although treating wastewater generally ranks alongside police and fire safety, schools, and transit as the top priorities of any sensible city hall, new ideas about cleaning up sewage almost never attract headlines or TV airtime.

Yet a 7-year-old treatment plant in Orange County that recycles wastewater to recharge drinking water aquifers – and generates most of its own energy – is attracting international attention for its design and effectiveness.

City authorities in Modesto and Turlock are working with the Del Puerto Water District in Patterson to recycle wastewater from two municipal treatment plants to supply almond, fruit, and vegetable growers with 30,000 acre-feet of irrigation water annually, equal to a third of the water district’s annual demand.

In Oakland, the 64-year-old regional wastewater treatment plant has elevated an essential urban service to a new level of innovation and civic importance. The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) treatment plant, a formidable assembly of mixing tanks, pumps, and pipes on the city’s north side, has 11 megawatts of biogas-fueled electrical generating capacity, more than the plant’s power demand.

In 2012, EBMUD became the first wastewater treatment plant in North America to produce more renewable energy onsite than is needed to run the facility.

The excess power is sold to the Port of Oakland, and EBMUD saves about $US 3 million in electric expenses a year...

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