Richmond, CA and Houston, TX /PRNewswire/ - The Board of Directors of West County Wastewater (WCW) has announced plans for a comprehensive energy, infrastructure, and process improvement project designed to significantly reduce the organization's carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. This infrastructure upgrade project will reduce West County Wastewater's overall greenhouse gas emissions by 93 percent at WCW's Water Quality and Resource Recovery Plant and is expected to save more than $83 million over the project's lifetime.
"To us, community and environmental stewardship is about more than providing wastewater services," said Andrew Clough, WCW Deputy General Manager. "It is about working together to encourage and employ healthy industry and environmental practices that will benefit the region, our communities, and our ecosystem for years ahead."
The new comprehensive infrastructure project will help WCW achieve its vision. Led by low-carbon energy leader ENGIE North America (ENGIE), the initiative will include significant upgrades to WCW's Water Quality and Resource Recovery Plant. Two new digesters, an addition of 1.1 megawatts (MW) of solar power generation, a thermal sludge drying system, and solids dewatering, among other improvements, will greatly improve WCW's control over its handling of biosolids.
"This project is one of the most impactful energy, infrastructure and process improvement programs in the United States," said Stefaan Sercu, Managing Director at ENGIE North America. "Our alliance with WCW will serve as a proof point for the benefits of the comprehensive energy collaboration approach. Wastewater treatment is an especially energy-demanding operation—but wastewater districts that take advantage of ENGIE's expertise at the energy-water nexus can make the improvements necessary for the reliability of their equipment, safety of the local community, and environmental sustainability."
Historically, biosolids produced by WCW have been sent to landfill due to the fact they did not meet the high -quality standards required for beneficial reuse. By generating Class A biosolids, suitable for agricultural and other reclamation uses, these upgrades will eliminate organic material being sent to landfill. This will prepare the organization for the 2022 implementation of SB 1383, the "Short-Lived Climate Pollutants: Organic Waste Reductions" regulations, and reduce ongoing disposal costs. The project will also result in a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the decomposition of sludge in the landfills.
ENGIE will implement the plant improvements and maintain the installed equipment over the next 20 years under an energy savings performance contract. This approach will leverage ENGIE's deep expertise in energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions to optimize operational efficiencies throughout the equipment's lifetime. ENGIE is targeting a 4.2 million kWh reduction in WCW's annual energy use.
The scope of the project comprises a 1.1 MW solar power system, LED lighting, electric vehicle charging stations and wastewater treatment plant upgrades including a new grit separation system, rotary drum thickeners, a high efficiency aeration blower, new digesters, a 450 kW cogeneration system powered by biogas from the digester, a sludge dewatering system, a sludge thermal dryer system and equalization basins. Together, these systems' onsite generation will meet close to 100 percent of the District's facilities and wastewater treatment electricity needs.
Finally, the initiative will bring job opportunities and economic benefits to the Richmond area. In addition to creating jobs through the District Project Labor Agreement, it will create internships and career pathways in the wastewater industry for local high school and college students.
About West County Wastewater
West County Wastewater serves several communities in the Richmond, California, area. The organization owns, operates, and maintains a wastewater collection system with 249 miles of gravity sewer pipelines, 17 lift stations, 6 miles of pressure force mains, and a Water Quality and Resource Recovery Plant with a capacity of 12.5 million gallons per day (mgd). All told, WCW provides wastewater services to approximately 34,000 residences and 2,450 commercial and industrial businesses, with a total population of nearly 100,000.
About ENGIE North America
Based in Houston, Texas, ENGIE North America Inc. is a regional hub of ENGIE, a global leader in low-carbon energy and services. ENGIE (ENGI), is listed on the Paris and Brussels Stock Exchanges. Together with our 170,000 employees around the globe, our customers, partners and stakeholders, we are committed to accelerate the transition toward a carbon-neutral world, through reduced energy consumption and more environmentally-friendly solutions. Inspired by our purpose ("raison d'être"), we reconcile economic performance with a positive impact on people and the planet, building on our key businesses (gas, renewable energy, services) to offer competitive solutions to our customers. In North America, ENGIE helps our clients achieve their energy efficiency, reliability, and ultimately, their sustainability goals, as we work together to shape a sustainable future. We accomplish this through energy efficiency projects, providing energy supply (including renewables and natural gas), and the development, construction and operation of renewable energy assets (wind, solar, storage and more). For more information on ENGIE North America, please visit our LinkedIn page or Twitter feed, https://www.engie-na.com/ and https://www.engie.com.