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

According to the DOE’s WWTP Energy Data Management Manual, electricity alone 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. These energy needs are expected to grow over time, driven by population growth and increasingly stringent water quality requirements.  During 2018-19, the Energy Programs Office (EPO) will be working with partners in both the drinking and wastewater sectors to provide Operator Energy Outreach.

Based on previous work by EPO with this sector, this program is intended to capture work done in the DEP’s water programs where energy measures have been recommended, but there is a ta lag between the energy efficiency education and technical assistance and implementation.  Water treatment facilities first ensure clean water for customers or for discharge to the waters of the Commonwealth.  Funds for capital improvements are tied to strict timelines.  The goal of this program is to reach back to small and mid-sized municipally owned WWTP and WTP facilities requesting their data and energy successes over the course of three years into the future, so EPO staff can continue to conduct follow-up with those participants to ensure outcome measures.

This project includes a number of elements: webinars for operators, promotion of pump audit certification training, on-site pump and motor audits at smaller facilities, hands-on workshops, and an energy opportunities marketing program with tools for operators to use with decision makers.   The goal would be to reach between 50 and 80 of these operators. 

The key element, workshops, include a hands-on pump audit with participants.  In addition to the information learned from the pump auditor team, these operators often have their own experiences to share. This peer-to-peer learning, along with modifiable checklists for operators to use at their own sites, allows networking between attendees going into the future.  SEP funds will assist with not only the workshop trainers and materials but provide the host sites with a pump audit report.   Attendees will be asked to share their energy data with EPO so that once improvements have been made, measurable outcomes can be captured.  Attendees will also be provided with additional tools in the form of materials – infographics, short reports, and general marketing items – targeted at WWTP decision makers.  They would translate energy opportunities into fiscal details that could be presented to boards and authority managers by the operators for assisting them in making capital improvements at their facilities.