NYC Closer to Turning Sewage into Energy - By Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye writes extensively for the GoGreenPost - where sustainability meets sensible.
Feb 18, 2011 9:12 AM ET

NYC Closer to Turning Sewage into Energy

New York City is the only city in the US that never sleeps.  It is also one city that often smells, especially in the summer.  One reason is the city’s aging sewage system, to which the city’s 8 million residents contribute 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater daily.

All that wastewater goes through several processes until it is reduced to a daily amount of 1200 tons of sludge.  For 50 years until the late 1980s, that sludge was treated as a waste product and sent out by barges where it was dumped at sea.  Currently most of those biosolids end up in landfills in Long Island and even as far as Virginia.  NYC officials, however, now believe that all that sludge could be harvested into sources of clean energy.  For now one of those gases, methane, is a fuel source for the city’s 14 wastewater treatment plants.  Fuel from wastewater, however, could find more use throughout the city.

City officials want to find ways to turn that wasted energy into heat and electricity for its residents.  New York City still creates an excess of methane gas, half of which is still wasted because the city’s treatment plants burn them off.  The city is searching for private vendors that have the capacity to churn that wasted methane into energy for homes and businesses.  One partnership in the works could create enough energy to heat up to 2500 homes in Brooklyn.

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