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Michigan waste treatment facility gets $32M update

Posted August 29

— A waste treatment facility in eastern Michigan is getting a $32 million update.

The Oakland County Water Resources Commission is planning a new biosolids treatment facility at its Clinton River Water Resource Recovery Facility in Pontiac. Biosolids are a nutrient-rich organic matter that can be used as fertilizer, the Oakland Press reported .

The plant produces a residual material called "sludge" after treating the water. The update will include a process called thermal hydrolysis pretreatment, which uses high temperatures and pressure to turn sludge into material that degrades at a faster pace. The broken down material becomes methane that is used for energy and biosolids that are used for fertilizer.

The commission said the new process will increase efficiency and reduce waste sent to the landfill.

"Our goal is to move forward to be less dependent on the facilities," said Navid Mehram, the commission's chief engineer. "When you destroy sludge, it generates gas, and that goes to the steam boiler, which supplies more heat to destroy more sludge, like circulating energy. We'll be the second in the country to use this process."

The commission expects long-term economic benefits for communities sending sanitary flow to the facility because of energy saved in breaking down waste, sending less biosolids to the landfill and potential for revenue from quality biosolids.

The project received a $2.5 million principal forgiveness from the state's Green Project Reserve, which is funded by the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program.

The commission is scheduled to break ground at the facility Sept. 12.

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