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Water (WTP) & Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Operators Energy Outreach

According to the DOE’s WWTP Energy Data Management Manual, electricity can constitute 25% to 40% of a wastewater treatment plant’s annual operating budget and makes up a significant portion of a given municipality’s total energy bill. As populations expand, the climate changes and water quality requirements become more stringent, these costs are expected to continue to grow. In late 2020, the Energy Programs Office (EPO) joined Phase 2 of US DOE’s Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future (SWIFt) accelerator. This initiative works with water resource recovery facilities to accelerate a pathway toward sustainable infrastructure. For more on SWIFt, see DOE’s website.

As a partner, DEP will be able to work with wastewater (WWTP) facilities across Pennsylvania in using SWIFt resources in their plants:

  • For fiscal year 2021-22, nine plants have partnered to form a cohort who will receive energy utility benchmarking, US DOE training, and a free level 2 energy audit.
  • The cohort will review multiple DOE and EPA energy analysis tools so EPO can direct WWTP across the Commonwealth to the best tool for their plant type and size.
  • The plants will also provide input on what the next best steps are for EPO to guide WWTP in making energy efficiency improvements.

As with many energy training and technical assistance programs, measurable outcomes can be difficult to capture, especially for municipal programs as municipal budgets have strict capital improvement timelines. To overcome this, EPO will work with the cohort over the next three years to assist them in tracking their energy utility data so energy saving successes can be identified, measured, and shared.