East Valley Water District to Convert High-Grade Food Waste to Electricity

By on October 15, 2019
East Valley Water District

The East Valley Water District (EVWD) Board of Directors recently took another step forward toward a more sustainable future with the approval of adding a state-of-the-art co-digester technology at district’s Sterling Natural Resource Center (SNRC). By using an advanced co-digestion process, the SNRC will give unwanted food waste collected by local waste companies a new purpose by producing renewable electricity.

Although no timeline for the new conversion process has been announced, the forthcoming advanced co-digestion process will allow the SNRC to allow unwanted food waste collected by local waste companies to be used for a new purpose. The new digesters will combine high-grade food waste with the material left behind during the treatment of wastewater to produce three megawatts of electricity. Or the equivalent of the electricity needed to power about 1,950 homes. The SNRC to produce enough renewable electricity to meet the facility’s energy needs while any additional electricity that is generated can be transferred to the energy grid.

“The incorporation of digester technology at the SNRC further supports the project’s vision of sustainability and the responsible use of resources,” said Chris Carrillo, East Valley Water District chairman. “It ensures the facility reduces its carbon footprint while creating a new water supply for the community.”

To provide enough space for the new digester technology and to accommodate its construction will necessitate the water treatment side of the facility to take on a slightly more industrial look. The facility’s administrative side where a future demonstration garden is planned will still maintain a scenic, welcoming layout. The SNRC was recently awarded a $1.49 million Urban Greening Grant from the California Natural Resources Agency for the construction of a community demonstration garden.

To purchase the necessary equipment for the new digester and needed components EVWD will invest $32.6 million toward the project. A portion of this cost will be covered by state and Southern California Edison programs that provide funding for projects that create energy. The facility’s overall guaranteed maximum price is $182.6 million with funding being provided by state grants, low-interest loans, and development fees.

“The addition of digester technology represents a valuable investment toward the long-term operations of the SNRC and an opportunity to make a positive impact beyond the facility’s walls,” said John Mura, East Valley Water District general manager/CEO.