LIMA — The city and county are partnering on a pilot project using biosolids from Allen County Sanitary Engineering Department turned to methane gas to help power the city of Lima’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.
If fully implemented, the partnership could save the Sanitary Engineer upwards of $150,000 a year and provide feedstock to the city, reducing its electric and natural gas bills at the wastewater plant.
Allen County Sanitary Engineer Steve Kayatin said his department is saving money and addressing an environmental issue.
Much of the biosolids are spread on farm fields, Kayatin said. However, sometimes that option isn't available because of the season. Also, environmental regulations now allow less of it to be spread. That all means the waste must be treated. The department was hauling the waste 80 miles and paying 5 cents a gallon. The waste the department is taking to the city of Lima Wastewater Treatment Plant is going only 8 miles and and costing the county 3 cents a gallon, Kayatin said.
Kayatin said it’s a good example of governments partnering to help each other.
Lima Utilities Director Gary Sheely said his department is happy to have the feedstock. At 3 cents a gallon, the city is treating the waste at cost, which ensures Lima customers aren’t bearing the cost and giving the county a good deal. The upside for the city is the added stock.
“We’ve been doing this six months and don’t see a downside to it,” Sheely said. “It reduces our demand for commercial electricity and natural gas. We have two micro turbines that generate electric and hot water used in the process. It helps us and solves an issue for them.”
The city has a higher classification for its wastewater treatment, meaning that the finished product can be used in more applications than if it were treated by the county. The city’s finished product is sometimes used in Lim-A-soil, a popular product sold by Wright Mulch and used in gardens for fertilizing.