Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Friday, July 20, 2012

PMUA Project: Use sewers to heat buildings?

Here's a thought. Could Plainfield's PMUA use heat from the city's sewers as a source of energy to heat or cool public buildings?

NPR recently did a news story on the small city of Brainerd, Minnesota, and its plan to recover heat from its sewer system to heat or cool buildings (see story here).

Seems the town's energy authority studied the temperature of fluids flowing through its sewer system for a year before concluding that the difference in temperature was sufficient that extracting the heat in a way similar to that used by geothermal heating and cooling projects could be economically feasible.

A similar method was used by the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. The issue in Minnesota, though, is solving the problem of operating a system that uses 'contaminated' fluids.

Brainerd officials estimate there is enough recoverable heat to heat or cool several hundred homes in the city of 14,000.

For such an idea to be considered in Plainfield, part of the equation would have to be developing such a project as part of new development or retrofitting of older existing (public?) buildings, since new heating/cooling systems would have to be installed.

But why not look into it?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Bob said...

Do we trust the PMUA to do this in a cost effective, transparent way? NO! There would have to be close and involved outside controls.

Anonymous said...

It is frightening to think of empowering the PMUA to undertake anything and hoping for it to be cost effective. Any added dimension would only serve as a platform to enlarge its stranglehold on our economy. There would be 10 years on consultant fees, endless ramblings, and no doubt several jobs added to oversee the project.

The "investigation" from Trenton is apparently lost its way in the woods, the Mayor has thrown a roadblock, probably an insurmountable roadblock in the path of an independent study, the election of Reverend Brown tips the scales of any effective reform initiated by the City Council,and the concept of a kangaroo committee to undertake a review of PMUA operations is a farce.

One effective weapon remains in the arsenal of the public: OPT OUT. This can bring enough pressure to cause reform or dissolution. The PMUA must demonstrate the economic justification forthe amount of the Shared Service Fee they charge. It is obvious on inspection that this fee is inflated as it now stands. If the PMUA further enlarges the household fee in order to compensate for lost revenue we can challenge them in court...something we should do now.
As to the new initiative to obtain a tax exemption on the State level, while desirable, it is long shot. And, the Federal exemption, which woulkd yield a significantly larger saving if approved, does not automatically follow.
Bill Kruse

Anonymous said...

Just Stop Paying!