The Kenosha Wastewater Treatment Plant is adding new technology that will help it produce its own energy and save money.
In partnership with Centrisys Centrifuge Systems, the treatment plant, 7834 Third Ave., has already installed a newly designed centrigue that reduces wastewater and solids more efficiently.
It creates a byproduct gas that can be used to produce energy and anyother byproduct, which can beclassified as Class A sludge, that can be used as fertilizer. it may eventually be sold to We Energies as an alternative to coal.
The $6.7 million equipment upgrade will reduce the need for caustic chemicals, thereby saving the facility $600,000 annually. Another $400,000 savings can be realized through the use of a byproduct that no longer has to be sent to a landfill.
"It produces a sludge that is 93% dry," said David Lewis, assistant general manager of the plant. the dewatering is so efficient that the residual sludge "can be put on fields as fertilizer."
Melissa Arrot, director of operations, describes the upgrade as a green project. However, unlike those that take several years to show a return on investment, this one has alrady produced savings and return on investment.
Additional phases include new dryers and remodeled building. Capacity will be increased to allow the facility to accomodate a higher volume of wastewater. Some of the new equipment will be designed by SH + E, a German company that is partnering with Centrisys.
Although the technology upgrade may not be easily recognized by Kenosh County residents, they will not have to pay for it. The arrangement is a self-financing one that will help the treatment plant generate revenues, said general manager Ed St. Peter.
The partnership begand two and a half years ago when CEO Michael Kopper of Centrisys approached treatment plant officials about trying out his new design.
It wasn't readily accepted but eventually the arrangement was too enticing, said St. Peter. The new centrifuge that costs $400,000 was literally give to the city to try out for free under a complex arrangement.
Under the argreement, the city's wastewater treatment plant becomes a marketer whereby visitors from other municiplaities can tour the plant and hopefully decide to upgrade their facilities to that system. For every sale, the Kenosha Water Ultility earns a share of the revenue that is generated.