The city of Gresham’s wastewater treatment plant is turning human waste, along with oil, fat and grease from local businesses and restaurants, into pure energy gold.
All the while generating all the electricity needed to run the plant and a lot more power that goes back onto the electrical grid.
“Several years ago we were really looking at our rising utility costs and limited funds and decided that something really needed to be done to help save taxpayer money and make the plant more sustainable and environmentally friendly,” said city spokeswoman Elizabeth Coffey.
Coffey said that in three years, the plant has saved the city $1.5 million and been recognized as the first wastewater treatment plant in the U.S. to be certified as Energy Net Zero.
“We do that by taking biogas and running that through two powerful engines and then converting that into heat and energy,” Coffey said.
The gas is generated from two, one million gallon tanks, or digesters.
“It makes all the sense in the world. It’s green in terms of the environment. We’re doing the right thing, and it’s also green in terms of us saving taxpayers money,’’ Coffey said.
In addition to solar panels on-site used for additional power, heat generated by the process of treating 13 million gallons of wastewater each day is also used to heat the buildings at the plant.