The Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority recently announced it has entered into an agreement with Minneapolis-based Honeywell to upgrade wastewater treatment plants for the agency that entails modernizing infrastructure, improving efficiency and creating jobs.
The energy-savings program will start with $16.3 million in improvements at treatment plants in Barceloneta and Caguas. This includes installing advanced process controls, new blowers and diffusers, and other high-efficiency equipment — work that is guaranteed to save the authority almost $2.7 million in annual energy and operating costs.
“In an area where electricity costs are high and energy use comes at a premium, improving efficiency is a top priority,” said PRASA President Alberto Lázaro. “Working with Honeywell will significantly enhance our plants and ability to manage consumption.”
In addition to the equipment upgrades, Honeywell will provide ongoing service and maintenance to help ensure the new technology operates effectively, the company said.
The enhancements are expected to cut energy use at the Barceloneta plant in half and the Caguas plant by nearly 30 percent. Combined, PRASA will reduce its electricity consumption by an estimated 9.3 million kilowatt-hours annually, enough energy to power more than 790 homes on average. It will also trim carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 6,100 metric tons each year. This is equivalent to removing almost 1,200 cars from the road, per estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Honeywell is auditing five other PRASA sites to identify opportunities to cut energy consumption and costs, which could deliver more than $3 million in additional savings per year. The authority will use the savings from the program, which are guaranteed through 10-year performance contracts with Honeywell, to pay for the upgrades. As a result, PRASA should be able to modernize its operations without increasing budgets.
The program is also expected to create jobs for local contractors, which Honeywell plans to hire to complete many of the upgrades. According to figures from the National Association of Energy Service Companies, the initial projects have the potential to create or sustain more than 150 high-paying jobs for the businesses involved.
“Scaling back energy use and increasing efficiency at the plant level improves service quality and enables greater flexibility,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. “By focusing on modernizing its infrastructure and equipment, it is clear Puerto Rico is committed to providing superior water and wastewater treatment to its residents in a fiscally and environmentally responsible way.”
As part of the first phase of improvements, Honeywell will rebuild the aeration and aerobic digestion systems at both the Barceloneta and Caguas plants by installing advanced controls, and energy-efficient blowers and diffusers. Additional changes include replacing old water pumps, transformers and lighting.
Honeywell will also improve the efficiency of the sludge removal systems at the facilities, which treat more than 20 million gallons of water a day, increasing the amount of waste captured and minimizing disposal costs.
Honeywell expects to complete the upgrades by early 2014, and will begin work at the other sites as soon as the audits and conservation measures are finalized.