- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for State, Local Officials Celebrate Success of Worcester Water Treatment Facility
Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs
HOLDEN — In recognition of Earth Week, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Commissioner Martin Suuberg was joined by Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty and Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. for a tour of the City of Worcester’s drinking water treatment facility to highlight state funding for the facility that has 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.
“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.”
In 2018, the City of Worcester was awarded a $200,000 in Gap Funding Program grants to replace the existing 20-year-old ozone generation systems with the most-current liquid oxygen systems for improved treatment, while using less electricity. The facility upgrade is projected to result in more than $161,000 in annual cost savings, more than 1.7 million megawatt-hours of reduced demand – which is a 50 percent reduction in annual electricity usage – and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
“As always, I want to thank Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito for continuing to be partners the success of the City of Worcester,” said Mayor Petty. “Investing in our urban waterways and blue spaces is a priority of the City Manager and myself. With this investment into our drinking water we’ll be able to provide consistently high quality of drinking water for Worcester residents and create annual cost savings as we do so.”
“This generous grant from MassDEP will ultimately help us improve safety and save energy,” said Worcester City Manager Augustus. “Replacing the ozone system at our Worcester Water Filtration Plant will provide cleaner, safer drinking water while also conserving energy use by 50 percent. We thank the Baker-Polito Administration for their continued support of important initiatives in Worcester.”
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 Department of Energy Resources (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: