Clean Water = Clean Energy

This news arrives by way of The Sacramento Bee (sacbee.com). The article mentions how the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) are taking considerable actions to both educate the public and various leaders and to actively help solve current energy problems. California’s wastewater treatment plants are doing their part to create clean energy in addition to their obvious and much needed clean water operations.

The mayor of California and the President have both set respective state and national clean energy goals. It is expected that a high percentage of our energy needs can be provided by clean, renewable sources in the coming decades. The end result of this goal should be clear to all by now; we will benefit from considerably less air pollution and we will not be reliant on foreign energy sources.

There are already quite a few clean water agencies in California that are able to completely offset their own energy usage by using the energy that is created when wastewater is treated. This energy comes from the methane, biosolids, and biogas that is stored in the wastewater and other substances that the plants process. Some of these other substances include oil and grease provided by restaurants.

Energy produced from wastewater treatment plants represents an opportunity that is too significant to ignore. For example, the Water Environment Research Foundation has mentioned that biosolids and wastewater contain at least five times the amount of energy that is needed to process them. It is easy to imagine the considerable clean energy potential if this process were scaled to a national and fully cooperative level.

CASA’s Gary Darling is very optimistic about the organization’s ability to spread the word and ultimately have a large effect on clean energy awareness and production. His “Waste to Watts” motto will undoubtedly take off as more and more people realize the urgency that is involved with clean energy and clean water.

This is the kind of leadership that must gain some real traction if we are to be able to benefit from a cleaner, more livable future. I believe that our leaders will start to pay attention to movements like this one because they make too much sense. It will be difficult to say no to something that not only improves our environment, but makes money at the same time. This is the kind of win-win situationthat can bring much hope to our future world.