WSSC Water Commissioners Approve Phase Two Funding for Innovative Piscataway Bioenergy Project

Project Turns Poop to Power by Transforming Sewage into Renewable Energy

| News Release

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Laurel, Md. – April 22, 2020 – On April 15, WSSC Water Commissioners approved Phase Two funding to continue design and construction of the Piscataway Bioenergy Project. Located at the Piscataway Water Resource Recovery Facility in Accokeek, Prince George’s County, the innovative facility will turn poop to power by transforming sewage into renewable energy. The $228 million for Phase Two brings the total investment in the green-energy project to $271 million and marks the final funding needed to construct WSSC Water’s largest and most technologically advanced project. 

“This is a huge milestone for WSSC Water and our customers, and I thank our Commissioners for their leadership and vision in approving this funding,” said WSSC Water General Manager and CEO Carla A. Reid. “Once completed, this facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help protect the Chesapeake Bay, create renewable energy and save our customers money.”

At the heart of the project is how WSSC Water handles biosolids – the nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the wastewater treatment process. Currently, WSSC Water’s five major water resource recovery facilities produce about 8,000 tons of Class B biosolids each month. With the addition of the green technology at Piscataway’s new facility, the amount of biosolids left over from the treatment process will be significantly reduced. The cost to haul and dispose of the product also will be greatly reduced and the need to use lime to control odor will be eliminated.

The remaining biosolids will be significantly cleaner (Class A), making the disposal process much easier and allowing the final product to be sold and distributed as fertilizer. This new process will save WSSC Water customers more than $3 million per year by reducing WSSC Water’s operating costs.

The approval of the Phase Two funding allows for construction of the anaerobic digesters as well as the purchasing and installation of the thermal hydrolysis equipment. Construction is being undertaken by PC Construction, an employee-owned industry leader in innovative water and wastewater infrastructure.

“WSSC Water is leading the nation in terms of cutting-edge, environmentally sound wastewater treatment and we are honored to be the design-builder for this important project,” said Jay Fayette, President and CEO of PC Construction. “This project is a model for the nation and demonstrates that utilities and municipalities alike can invest in leading edge infrastructure that creates significant value while dramatically reducing their impact on the environment.”

The process to create Class A biosolids will generate renewable fuel to help run the plant. Methane gas will be produced, which will be captured and upgraded to natural gas quality to provide the Piscataway facility with a clean, green and reliable power source. 

PC Construction, based in Vermont and a leader in design-build projects, is WSSC Water’s leading partner on the project. Phase One broke ground in May of 2019. Weather permitting, the entire project should be complete and the facility operational in summer 2024.

Learn more about the project at www.wsscwater.com/bioenergy.

WSSC Water is the proud provider of safe, seamless and satisfying water services, making the essential possible every day for our neighbors in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. We work to deliver our best because it’s what our customers expect and deserve.

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