D.C. Wastewater Treatment Plant To Make Electricity From Waste | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

D.C. Wastewater Treatment Plant To Make Electricity From Waste

Play associated audio
The Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest plant in the world. It has the capacity to treat 370 million gallons of sewage a day.
D.C. Water and Sewer Authority
The Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest plant in the world. It has the capacity to treat 370 million gallons of sewage a day.

A sprawling construction site extends into the distance behind George Hawkins, the head of D.C.'s Water and Sewer Authority.

"What we're building here will be the largest source of clean renewable energy in Washington, D.C.," he says.

The $400 million project will use what's called thermal hydrolysis and anaerobic digestion. That means the plant will cook and sterilize a lot of what we flush down the toilet, and then break it down with bacteria to generate methane gas. The clean burning gas, in turn, is used to fuel turbines that then loop back to help power the digester.

"This is the largest installation in the world, and we're gonna generate enough power to light up 8000 homes, we'll use all that energy here," Hawkins says.

In the process, the plant cuts its solid waste output in half and saves $10 million a year in electricity bills. An additional $1 billion upgrade will use a different set of bacteria to remove nitrogen from the waste, cutting nitrogen output in half as well.

D.C. Water says it's improved bacteria-driven waste treatment system will be completed in 2014, and the upgrades will also make the plant smell better.

NPR

Mexican TV Icon Roberto Gómez Bolaños Dies At 85

The actor, writer and director was a staple of Mexican television comedies and children's programs for decades.
NPR

From Humble Salt To Fancy Freezing: How To Up Your Cocktail Game

You don't need to have liquid nitrogen at your next cocktail party — but it's certainly a sure-fire way to impress your guests. Expert mixologist Dave Arnold walks you through it.
NPR

Week In Politics: Hagel's Resignation, Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of the New York Times about the grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson and the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
NPR

Millennial Doctors May Be More Tech-Savvy, But Is That Better?

Text messages from your doctor are just the start. Millennials are the next generation of doctors and they're not afraid to say "chillax" in a consultation or check Twitter to find medical research.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.