D.C. Water gets power from waste

George Hawkins, right, shows Mayor Muriel Bowser the remaining compost-like material, as council member Mary Cheh looks on. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
George Hawkins, right, shows Mayor Muriel Bowser the remaining compost-like material, as Council member Mary Cheh looks on. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

The compost-like material will be used in gardens across the District. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
The compost-like material will be used in gardens across the District. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

This is not your ordinary pressure cookers. The thermal hydrolysis vessels take in waste water solids. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
This is not your ordinary pressure cooker. The thermal hydrolysis vessels take in waste water solids. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

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George Hawkins, right, shows Mayor Muriel Bowser the remaining compost-like material, as council member Mary Cheh looks on. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
The compost-like material will be used in gardens across the District. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
This is not your ordinary pressure cookers. The thermal hydrolysis vessels take in waste water solids. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

WASHINGTON — One man’s sewage is another man’s power supply.

D.C. Water has started turning waste water into an energy source that supplies power to one-third of its Blue Plains plant.

The $470 million waste-to-energy project is the first of its kind in North America. The scale of its thermal hydrolysis installation is unmatched in the world.

“We’re going to generate … a permanent, clean energy that reduces our carbon footprint by a third,” exclaimed D.C. Water General Manager George Hawkins.

The high-tech process pressure cooks the waste water solids. The resulting methane is captured and piped to three turbines to generate power.

The solids that are left behind are fit for gardens and will be used around the District.

“We cannot afford to allow waste to be just waste,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

DC Water project

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