Baker-Polito Administration Announces Funding for Innovative Technologies at Wastewater Treatment Plants

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Craig Gilvarg
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Mar 22, 2019 –
Boston

The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $759,556 in grants to support six innovative technical advancements for wastewater treatment facilities in Plymouth, Hull, Haverhill, Amherst, and Palmer. The funding, awarded through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) Wastewater Treatment Pilot program, supports publicly-owned wastewater treatment districts and authorities in Massachusetts that demonstrate innovative wastewater treatment technologies showing potential to reduce energy demand, recover resources such as heat, biomass, energy or water, and/or remediate nutrients such as nitrogen or phosphorus.  

“Wastewater treatment is an energy intensive process, and we are committed to working closely with municipalities across the Commonwealth to support innovative technologies that lead to cleaner and more efficient facilities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Massachusetts is a national leader in innovation and we look forward to funding these water projects to help communities reduce energy use and decrease costs.” 

“Supporting these projects will help advance innovative technologies that will significantly improve the wastewater treatment process, which is one of the largest consumers of electricity in our communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is pleased to provide strategic support to municipalities to help them meet their wastewater treatment challenges and help the Commonwealth conserve energy.”

Funding for these programs comes from MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust which was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1997 as part of the deregulation of the electric utility market. The trust is funded by a systems-benefit charge paid by Massachusetts electric customers of investor-owned utilities, as well as municipal electric departments that have opted to participate in the program.

“Massachusetts is committed to meeting our ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, and working with cities and towns across the state to improve efficiency in the wastewater treatment process will help us reach those goals,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The projects supported by this program will help the wastewater treatment process reducing energy use and delivering environmental benefits to our communities.”

“We are pleased to give these communities the resources to explore innovative technologies that both drive down consumer costs and improve energy efficiency,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “Wastewater treatment represents a persistent challenge for municipalities and these projects offer potential solutions while helping the Commonwealth build on its position as a national leader in energy efficiency and water technology.”

Sector experts from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection participated in the evaluation of the proposals and offered input as to the level of innovation being proposed and potential energy efficiency that might be realized.  

Each project being awarded is a partnership between a municipality and a technology provider. The program leveraged an additional $575,406 in funding from the six pilot projects.

The following municipalities and technology providers were awarded funding:

Plymouth Municipal Airport and JDL Environmental Protection ($150,000) – The funding will be used to install, monitor, and evaluate a low-energy membrane biological wastewater treatment reactor at the airport’s small municipal wastewater treatment facility.

Town of Hull, AQUASIGHTand Woodard & Curran ($140,627) – The funding will be used to implement and maintain an artificial intelligence platform, known as APOLLO, that informs wastewater workers of any operational issues and actions that would increase operational efficiency.

Town of Haverhill and AQUASIGHT ($150,000) – The funding will be used to implement and maintain the artificial intelligence platform APOLLO at the wastewater treatment facility in Haverhill.

Town of Plymouth, Kleinfelder and Xylem ($135,750) – The funding will be used to purchase and install optic nutrient sensors developed by Xylem, which will act as the primary means of process control for nutrient removal.

Town of Amherst and Blue Thermal Corporation ($103,179) – The funding will be used to install, monitor, and commission a wastewater source heat pump, which will provide renewable and consistent heating, cooling, and hot water to the Amherst Wastewater Treatment Plant from a renewable source.

Town of Palmer and The Water Planet Company ($80,000) – The funding will be used to install a nitrogen-based aeration control system along with sampling equipment.

 “The Merrimack River is one of our Commonwealth’s greatest natural treasures and our region must do everything within its power to ensure the Merrimack’s protection for years to come,” said State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen). “This grant will greatly help the City of Haverhill in adopting technology to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its wastewater treatment system. Modernizing our wastewater treatment plants is an essential step in ensuring health and safety not only for residents who use the river for recreation and sport, but for the wildlife who call the Merrimack and its ecosystem home.”

“This funding from MassCEC will allow Hull to ensure their wastewater treatment facility is running without any operational issues,” said State Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth). “Being a coastal community, it’s important for our systems to run efficiently and safely.”

“We’re thrilled that MassCEC has selected Haverhill for this grant,” said State Representative Andy X. Vargas (D-Haverhill). “We’re lucky to have a great team at Haverhill’s wastewater facility that has wisely used innovation to further improve a public service. I’m grateful to MassCEC and look forward to continuing to support state initiatives that innovate and improve the quality of life for our residents.”

“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts continues to prioritize funding and technologies to improve water quality in all our rivers and drinking water sources,” said State Representative Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen). “I congratulate the City of Haverhill for implementing this latest and cost-effective technology for improving their wastewater treatment and for making this goal a priority.”

“We appreciate the Commonwealth's investments in our community to expand the Town's use of technology for operational efficiency, and ultimately for conservation and environmental health,” said State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hingham).

“Artificial intelligence is very promising technology that can greatly improve efficiency and operations,” said State Representative Lenny Mirra (R-West Newbury). “Anything we can do to reduce energy demand, as well as nitrogen and phosphorus outflows, would be an important improvement to our environment.”