Managing Energy Costs in Wastewater Treatment Plants

There are approximately 17,000 municipal wastewater treatment facilities in the US. Wastewater and municipal drinking water treatment systems account for about 3 percent of total US energy consumption and approximately 35 percent of the total energy consumed by municipalities.

A breakdown of electricity consumption at a typical municipal activated-sludge wastewater treatment facility is shown in Figure 1. Electricity accounts for 90 to 95 percent of the total energy consumed by these facilities; the remainder is fuel (fuel oil or natural gas) used for back-up electricity generation or natural gas used to heat buildings.

Average energy use data

Figure 1: Electricity consumption by end use
Aeration accounts for more than 50 percent of wastewater treatment plant electricity consumption.
Pie chart showing percentages of energy consumed by end use
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