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$540K retrofit at sewage treatment plant will save money

With energy costs consuming more than a third of its operating budget, the city's water/waste water department is buying a piece of equipment that will save big dollars on its electricity bill.
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A more efficient blower will be used to infuse waste water with oxygen while it's being processed in holding tanks at the municipal waste treatment plant. While it costs $540,000, it will save $54,000 a year in energy costs. File photo.

With energy costs consuming more than a third of its operating budget, the city's water/waste water department is buying a piece of equipment that will save big dollars on its electricity bill.

A new blower for the waste treatment process will cost $540,000, but it will save $54,000 a year in energy bills.

“We would take advantage of the technology and save energy costs,” said engineer Akli Ben-Anteur, addressing the operations committee Monday.

While an expensive purchase, he said the city would make its money back in less than seven years, thanks to $162,000 in grant money from the Ontario Power Authority, which offers incentives to municipalities to become more energy efficient.

“The business case is there,” Ben-Anteur said.

The blowers are used to infuse waste water with oxygen while its held in holding tanks, which helps microbes used to treat the sludge do their job. Energy costs make up 34 per cent of the the department's $2.67-million operating budget, he said.


The blowers should last about 20 years, he said, assuming they're maintained properly. So after year seven, “you're saving $50,000 a year.”

Infrastructure GM Tony Cecutti said money saved through the retrofit will go back into the department, which, like roads, is already struggling to keep pace with demands for repair and renewal.

“These types of programs will help us find the extra dollars to maintain our infrastructure long-term,” said Cecutti said, adding the savings “will be reallocated to other areas of the division.”

“We don't see this as a beginning and an end, we see this as an ongoing process.”


Darren MacDonald

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