Pittsfield Wastewater Treatment Plant
In Massachusetts, stimulus is funding $770 million worth of energy efficiency upgrades to 110 clean and drinking water projects and the energy savings average, according to many plant managers' estimates, about 35 to 50 percent.

Pittsfield's waste water treatment plant is one such example. The plant received a total of $16 million in stimulus grants through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The grants will fund the installation of a solar photovoltaic field; a combined heat and power system; an aeration system upgrade; and the replacement of the plant's bar-rack filtration system.

Jeffrey Simon, director of the Massachusetts Recovery & Reinvestment Office, paid a visit to the plant to see firsthand the impact the stimulus funds have had on the energy upgrades there.

"There's no way that sitting at my desk in my office that I'm going to get a good feel of what's working

Pittsfield Wastewater Treatment Plant
unless I'm out talking to the people who are actually making it all work," said Simon. "Governor Patrick has instructed me to see as much as I can."

These upgrades are the first major upgrades to the plant in nearly 40 years and Pittsfield's Public Works Commissioner Bruce Collingwood noted that the projects could result in an average energy reduction of approximately 75 percent.

The Pittsfield plant, which treats municipal and industrial wastes from Pittsfield, Dalton, Hinsdale, Lanesborough, and North Lenox, processes approximately 10.8 million gallons of wastewater every day. The solar photovoltaic array and the combined heat and power system which will use methane produced through the facility's natural processes, will significantly cut energy costs.

Stimulus' Impact: Public Works
  • Clean and drinking water projects: $770 million
  • Number of projects: 110
  • Energy savings*: 35 to 50%
    • *Plant managers' estimates

Pittsfield Wastewater Treatment Plant
The new aeration system upgrades the existing single-speed mechanical mixing system to a bubble aeration system. The anaerobic sludge digestion system is being upgraded with a 195 kW biomass (sludge) cogeneration system for on-site electric power generation.

Three existing mechanically cleaned bar screens, which were installed within the original headworks in the 1960s and which filter out solids, are being replaced with a traveling rack bar screen.

"These projects will make us very unique when we're done," said Collingwood.