Poo Power

Thursday, September 16, 2010 - 9:18am

Waste recycling facility turns human waste into natural gas.

San Antonio, Texas is turning human waste into renewable energy.

San Antonio Water System's Dos Rios Water Recycling Facility is the first plant of its kind to complete the biowaste recycling trifecta.

The plant recycles waste water, waste solids and now it's using the gas from it all.

Cutting edge technology developed by the Massachusetts based company Ameresco takes methane gas from solid waste held in holding tanks and creates clean burning natural gas.

"Many plants, including our own use this gas on site, but this is the first time that it's to be actually sold on the open market to any customer that wants it," says San Antonio Water's Sarah Gatewood.

Ameresco owns the gas processing facility and will sell the gas itself, but SAWS and the city get paid a percentage of the profits, estimated at $200,000 to $250,000 per year.

Gatewood confirms that money will go back to the city.

"That will go back into our budget and help reduce our operating costs and hopefully help keep SAWS rates affordable for many years to come," she explains.

Currently the gas that will be sold is just being flared off as useless.

The start of this methane gas plant makes essentially everything you flush reusable.

SAWS has been recycling waste water for years putting scrubbed water back into the Medina River.

It's solid waste recycling operation provides compost material for local nursery companies, and now the methane gas to be sold on the open market.

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