- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for State, Local Officials Celebrate Success of Rockport Water Treatment Facility
Joseph Ferson, Public Affairs Office
ROCKPORT — In recognition of Earth Week, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Commissioner Martin Suuberg, Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Judith Judson and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Steve Pike were joined by Rockport Interim Town Administrator Mitchell Vieira for a tour of the Town of Rockport’s drinking water treatment facility to highlight state funding for the drinking water and wastewater facilities that have led to the reduction of energy use, air emissions, and operating costs. The savings are the result of $5.7 million in statewide investments under the Gap Funding Grant Program, which is designed to fill the last “gap” in project financing, enabling facilities to use utility incentives and funds from other sources to build or install selected energy efficiency and clean energy projects.
“Massachusetts leads the way when it comes to sustainability, and projects like these in Rockport help the Baker-Polito Administration continue its clean energy and climate change leadership,” said Secretary Beaton. “The Gap Funding Program provides a positive environmental impact, as well as a positive return-on-investment for these facilities, their energy utility partners, and the Commonwealth.”
“The Gap Funding Program helps drinking water and wastewater facilities make improvements to their treatment processes, and enable them to provide cleaner water – and cleaner air – while reducing energy use,” said Commissioner Suuberg. “These Gap projects cut the use of fossil fuels within the facilities, lower operating costs, and reduce plant air emissions.”
“DOER is proud to partner with MassDEP to lower energy use at these essential facilities, ultimately lowering costs for municipalities and moving the Commonwealth one step closer to a clean, affordable and resilient energy future,” said Commissioner Judson. “When cities and towns save energy, they save money – which means more room in local budgets for public safety, schools and other priorities.”
“Wastewater treatment is an energy intensive process and this funding will help drive down consumer costs and significantly improve the efficiency of these facilities,” said CEO Pike. “Wastewater treatment represents a persistent energy challenge for municipalities, and forward-thinking initiatives like Gap II and MassCEC’s Wastewater Treatment Pilot Program will help ensure clean water, reduce energy use and deliver environmental benefits to these communities.”
The Town of Rockport has been awarded more than $161,000 in Gap Funding Program grants, using the funds to perform control system improvements at the wastewater treatment plant, lighting retrofits at the wastewater and drinking water treatment plants, and upgrades to the drinking water pumping station. The two Gap grants together are projected to save the town $68,000 and 584,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity use annually. At the wastewater plant, the improvements will reduce energy use by 46 percent and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 197 metric tons every year.
“Rockport is pleased to partner with the Commonwealth on funding for these projects that will have such a significant impact on our energy use,” said Mitchell R. Vieira, Rockport’s interim town administrator.
During two rounds of Gap Funding Program grants, 67 drinking water and wastewater facilities have been awarded more than $5.7 million, jump-starting more than $28 million in project upgrades and installations, and saving communities more than $2.5 million in annual electrical costs. These 67 projects are estimated to generate approximately 24,195 megawatt-hours in annual electricity savings or on-site energy generation, sufficient to power 3,184 households and reduce carbon emissions by 17,977 metric tons. The funding Gap Funding Program grants is made available by the DOER through Alternative Compliance Payments from retail electricity suppliers.
Energy use at wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities is a major contributor to overall energy consumption for many cities and towns, with communities statewide spending approximately $150 million per year on electricity to treat 662 billion gallons of wastewater and drinking water. About 30 percent of municipal energy use derives from water treatment.
More information on the gap funding grant program can be found here: