PRESS RELEASE (Hillsborough, NJ — November 13, 2012) Middlesex Water Company and Natural Systems Utilities reported their unique public private partnership with the Village of Ridgewood, N.J. — named Ridgewood Green LLC –has earned an Environmental Achievement Award from PlanSmart NJ.
The PlanSmart NJ award recognizes Ridgewood Green LLC’s unique, sustainable approach under which a portion of the Village of Ridgewood’s wastewater treatment plant will be retrofitted to create electric energy from the wastewater treatment process. Middlesex Water and Natural Systems Utilities, in a 20-year public private partnership with the Village of Ridgewood, are making the capital investment to enable the plant to use an anaerobic digestion process to convert methane gas to electricity.
This project also includes conversion of a chemical disinfection system to one that uses ultraviolet light to treat the wastewater effluent, thereby reducing chemical consumption. Installation of solar generation will further supplement the plant’s electricity needs. In addition, food wastes from local sources will help to act as an accelerant to the anaerobic digestion process, further enhancing the production of electricity. “This project clearly demonstrates how our aging infrastructure can be reinvigorated and repurposed in a way that saves money while improving environmental protection,” said Edward A. Clerico, President and COO of Natural Systems Utilities, LLC. “In this case, we are producing renewable energy from wastes by upgrading existing wastewater facilities and capturing solar energy on available utility property. It is a win-win-win for the residents of Ridgewood, the environment and our investors,” he added.
The Village of Ridgewood’s wastewater treatment plant is expected to be fully energy self-sufficient with no need to purchase electricity from local sources on a sustained basis, enabling it to benefit from below-market prices for electric power over the term of the partnership. Ridgewood Green, the entity created to design, build and own the newly-constructed plant additions, will oversee the operation of these facilities by Village of Ridgewood public works employees.
“This innovative approach to energy capture provides a big win for the environment that improves air quality, reduces dependence on chemicals, lowers energy costs and reduces residuals involved in wastewater treatment,” said Chris Rutishauser, P.E., Director of Public Works/Village Engineer for the Village of Ridgewood. “This sustainable solution can be replicated by other publicly-owned wastewater facilities that are seriously focused on reducing their overall carbon footprint and reducing costs. I believe that the success of our public/private partnership creating sustainable energy can be a model for other small wastewater treatment plants throughout the country,” he added.
The PlanSmart NJ Environmental Achievement Award was created to recognize individuals and organizations that have demonstrated leadership and accomplishments in protecting, restoring and enhancing the quality of the environment.
“We thank PlanSmart NJ for recognizing our unique business model that capitalizes on the inherent relationship between water, wastewater and renewable energy and provides for an appropriate sharing of environmental and economic value for the benefit of all parties,” said Dennis Doll, President and CEO of Middlesex Water Company.
PlanSmart NJ aims to revitalize New Jersey’s landscape so that the state’s citizens benefit from a sustainable economy and environment, based on resource efficiency and social equity. Plan Smart NJ is an independent, non-profit planning and research organization committed to improving the quality of community life through the advancement of sound land use planning and regional cooperation. To learn more, visit www.plansmartnj.org