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Laurel, Md. – June 21, 2023 – WSSC Water and Montgomery County recently entered into a five-year agreement that will literally turn poop into power. Thanks to the construction of the innovative Piscataway Bioenergy Facility, methane gas captured during the wastewater treatment process will be upgraded to Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) and sold to the county to power their Ride On buses. During today’s monthly meeting, WSSC Water Commissioners were briefed on the agreement to generate an estimated $700,000 per year in revenue for WSSC Water while reducing the utility’s greenhouse gas emissions.  

“The Montgomery County government is always seeking innovative and sustainable practices in order to reduce carbon emissions,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “This agreement to turn methane gas into fuel for our buses is a win-win-win for our constituents, commuters and, most importantly, our environment. I appreciate the efforts of WSSC Water to work with us to create this agreement. Increasing the efficiency and reliability of our Ride-On bus system is critical toward the County’s goal of a 100% carbon emission reduction by 2035. This agreement, along with our new electric buses and microgrids are important improvements within our fleet of Ride-On vehicles.”   

The  Piscataway Bioenergy facility will transform how WSSC Water handles biosolids, the nutrient-rich organic material resulting from wastewater treatment. Maryland’s largest water utility currently produces about 8,000 tons of biosolids monthly. Once construction of the bioenergy facility is complete in the fall of 2024, all biosolids from WSSC Water’s five other plants will be delivered to the new facility. Through innovative technology, the amount of biosolids left over from the new treatment process will be significantly reduced and cleaner (Class A). A state-of-the-art digestion process creating these Class-A biosolids will generate methane gas, which will be captured and upgraded on site to RNG.  

“Reclaiming valuable natural resources from the wastewater treatment process not only benefits our environment but also makes fiscal sense,” said WSSC Water Commission Vice Chair T. Eloise Foster. “I thank County Executive Elrich and Montgomery County leadership for signing this historic agreement and helping WSSC Water generate revenue while creating green jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”  

To facilitate the sale of RNG, WSSC Water received a license from the Maryland Public Service Commission to sell natural gas (NG) in Washington Gas and Baltimore Gas and Electric territories in Maryland. With this license, WSSC Water will also sell NG to Montgomery County to power Ride On buses and some county facilities. Additionally, selling RNG will generate Renewable Fuel Credits, which can be sold for additional revenue. WSSC Water estimates it will generate an additional $3.2 million per year from the sale of renewable energy credits. 

“Utilities are looking for any way to reduce costs and diversify revenues to take the pressure off customer rates,” said WSSC Water General Manager and CEO Kishia L. Powell. “The Piscataway Bioenergy project will generate revenue and save our customers more than $3.4 million annually by reducing operating costs. Completing this innovative project will also help reduce WSSC Water’s greenhouse emissions by 13 percent, complementing existing strategies to reduce our carbon footprint. I thank the leadership of both Montgomery and Prince George’s counties for approving funding to advance this crucial infrastructure project.”  

Construction of the $271 million facility in Accokeek, Maryland, began in the spring of 2019 and is expected to be substantially complete by November 2024. 

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.