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PRESS RELEASE- Downing Announces Major Infusion of State Dollars for Water Treatment Facilities: Nearly $18 Million for Pittsfield and Lee through MassDEP Pilot Program
June 19, 2009

Boston- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) is pleased to announce nearly $18 million in grant assistance awarded to Pittsfield and Lee for drinking and waste water treatment projects through the Massachusetts Energy Management Pilot program administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).  
 
“I am proud of the commitment to green practices that both Pittsfield and Lee have made with these initiatives,” said Downing. “By adopting these energy efficient upgrades citizens will realize energy cost savings, and the resulting positive environmental impacts will serve their communities well for generations.”
 
In December of 2007, the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and MassDEP launched the first phase of the innovative Massachusetts Energy Management Pilot for Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment Facilities. The project is designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and the amount of energy that water treatment facilities use by 20 percent.
 
Through this pilot program, a total of 14 facilities have received assistance: seven drinking water and seven wastewater treatment facilities. To date, the program guided the facilities through the assessment of their current energy performance, conducted energy audits, and assessed renewable energy generation potential. MassDEP and local strategic partners are working together to assist with the implementation of funding sources through the State Revolving Fund (SRF) - a low interest loan program administered by the state - and the Federal Stimulus package to complete the pilot program’s findings and recommendations for each treatment facilities.
 
Though energy efficiency and renewable, a total of over $3.7 million of potential annual energy savings were identified at the 14 facilities. Each facility varied in estimated potential savings, from five percent to 106 percent of annual energy costs, and average of 33 percent.
 
Local Project Summaries:
 
Pittsfield Wastewater Treatment Facility - $17,012,500
The City of Pittsfield operates an advanced, nutrient-removal treatment facility that processes nearly 10.8 million gallons of wastewater each day. The facility treats municipal and industrial wastes from Pittsfield, Dalton, Hinsdale, Lanesborough, and northern sections of Lenox. Through MassDEP’s pilot program, green energy upgrades to the plant will include:
  • Upgrading the existing single-speed mechanical mixing system to a fine bubble aeration system, performing heating and lighting upgrades;
  • Upgrading the existing anaerobic sludge digestion system by installing a 195 kW biomass (sludge) cogeneration system for onsite electric power generation; and
  • Installing up to a 1,575 kW solar photovoltaic system (roof and ground-mounted)
 
Pittsfield’s Mayor James Ruberto said, “It is great that as part of our ongoing comprehensive energy audits, the Mass DEP recognized Pittsfield as the ideal location to be the pilot site for the largest solar photovoltaic panel system in Massachusetts. This system has the potential to create up to 90-95% of our electric needs that the Wastewater Treatment plan uses each year, becoming an example that the rest of the county will look towards.  The forward thinking initiatives that the City of Pittsfield has been looking into not only benefits our environment, but they also reduce our utility costs and ultimately save our citizens money.”
 
In all, this project will produce over $647,000 (89%) in annual savings; 1,770 kW of green power generation (solar photovoltaic and Combined Heat and Power (CHP)); and 3,252 tons of carbon dioxide emission reductions will result annually from these green investments. The total cost of the project is estimated at $17 million.
 
Lee Water Treatment Facility - $936,000
The Town of Lee operates a surface water treatment plant (Schoolhouse and Leahey Reservoirs) that treats and distributes over 308 million gallons of drinking water to 2,055 customers annually. The facility currently utilizes an 80 kW hydroelectric turbine at the plant, which generates nearly 50 percent of its on-site electric power needs, saving the facility $28,000 each year. Through MassDEP’s Pilot program, green energy upgrades to Lee’s plant will include:
  • Installing Variable Speed Drives (VSDs), optimize batching, premium motor and lighting upgrades;
  • Installing up to a 90 kW solar photovoltaic system onsite (roof and ground mounted); and
  • Installing a second 15 – 45 kW hydroelectric turbine onsite
 
In total, this project will generate over $34,000 in annual energy savings providing over 100% of the electricity needed to power the plant, with excess clean power generation sold back to the electric grid; and 153 tons of carbon dioxide emissions reductions will result from these green investments each year. The estimated total cost of the project is $936,000.
 
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