FREEPORT — The general manager of the Freeport Sewer District said he has two major responsibilities — to keep the Harraseeket River clean and to reduce the carbon footprint of the sewer plant on South Freeport Road.
Leland Arris said both goals can be accomplished with upgrades to the waste-water treatment plant and heating system with little to no impact on rate payers.
The 35-year-old industrial air blowers used in the aeration process of the town’s waste-water treatment will be replaced, Arris said, saving the district 40 percent in electricity costs.
The $1 million aeration and blower upgrade will be funded by the Maine Municipal Bond Bank and grants from the Efficiency Maine Trust. Arris said the project started last week and could be complete as soon as October.
“With these new upgrades we will recover our investment halfway through the year,” he said.
Like the aeration system, Arris said the heating system also needs an upgrade. A process called effluent thermal – similar to geothermal energy – would take the heat out of the effluent water and redirect it to heat the building.
Last year the plant used 8,000 gallons of oil to heat the building, but a change to this process could save 70 percent of that cost, Arris said.
The project has gone out to bid and Arris will receive results by April 21. The trustees have a scheduled meeting on April 25 to discuss the project and if approved, construction could start as early as May.
“This district is modeling this kind of green energy behavior,” Arris said. “We want our plant to set an example in the industry of conserving energy and reducing our carbon footprint.”