Green heat recovery system cuts heating bills at MI wastewater treatment plant

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COMMERCE TOWNSHIP, MI, Sept. 3, 2014 -- A new green heat recovery system recently installed at the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Commerce Charter Township, a charter township of Oakland County and suburb of Detroit, Mich., is expected to save the township $50,000 in heating costs this winter.

Developed by Giffels Webster, the township's consulting engineering firm, the heat-recovery system supplied a significant portion of the heat required at the WWTP -- all from sewage -- from January to March 2014.

Giffels Webster worked with the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner's office to design and engineer the system at the WWTP earlier this year. Likewise, Giffels Webster also led the township's WWTP expansion project in 2012, which increased its capacity from 2.4 million gallons per day (GPD) to 8.5 million GPD.

The heat recovery system works similarly to geothermal energy by capturing heat from treated wastewater, which at the surface has a constant temperature of approximately 55 degrees. According to Loren Crandell, Giffels Webster partner, the system is cost-effective, reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly, and requires no wells.

Commerce Township's WWTP is Michigan's first municipal facility to draw thermal heat from wastewater. Crandell said it can also be used as a local utility by pumping treated wastewater to local businesses and residents that install heat recovery systems.

Although Commerce Township only uses the thermal extraction process for heating, the system is also capable of generating energy for cooling, yielding even more savings. It also helps the township diversify its portfolio of energy sources and reduces its reliance on commercial energy providers.

In 2013, the Commerce Township WWTP received the "Peak Performance Platinum 9 Award" from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) for achieving 100-percent compliance for six or more consecutive years.


About Giffels Webster

Since its inception in 1950, Giffels Webster has evolved to offer a broad scope of services centered on helping clients achieve their project or programming goals, including civil engineering, municipal consulting, planning, land development consulting, landscape architecture and environmental consulting. For more information, visit giffelswebster.com.

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