Ventura Water Announces New Green, Energy Efficient Technology For Wastewater Disinfection

Ventura Deputy Mayor Cheryl Heitmann Announces Pasteurization Pilot Results

Ventura, CA - Ventura Water announced on June 19 the initial results of a new non-chemical, energy efficient technology pilot program that will potentially replace the current chlorine-based disinfection process in use at the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility. The project was conducted in partnership with the Pasteurization Technology Group (PTG) whose pioneering technology uses heat generated by renewable energy to kill harmful organisms, the final step in the wastewater cleaning process.

“We are committed stewards of our beautiful rivers and ocean,” said Mayor Mike Tracy. “This advanced long-term solution allows us to remain environmentally protective in a fiscally responsible manner.”     

A full-scale design of the system has the potential to generate enough electricity to power the entire facility, which currently costs approximately $900,000 per year. Early estimates show that the amount of natural gas required to run the system would cost about half this amount, saving approximately $450,000 annually. Operational savings are also expected from the elimination of chemical costs, which currently run $250,000 per year.

As part of a continuous improvement effort, Ventura Water began evaluating disinfection options several years ago with PTG’s emerging technology being identified as the lowest-cost alternative in a study led by Carollo Engineers, experts in wastewater engineering. As a result, a small-scale PTG evaluation unit was installed at the reclamation facility and has been disinfecting 500,000 gallons or about 5 percent of the average daily flow of wastewater per day since December 2011. 

The evaluation unit has been undergoing extensive tests to prove that it meets the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility’s stringent standards for water safety. Design parameters are also being analyzed to disinfect the full wastewater flow of 7 to 9 million gallons per day and to optimize energy efficiency and generation.

The new technology uses natural gas combined with digester gas (a natural by-product of wastewater treatment) as fuel to drive a turbine (or turbines) to generate electricity. The hot exhaust air from the turbine (energy that is typically wasted) is then passed through a series of heat exchangers that increase the temperature of the wastewater to a level that disinfects the wastewater stream. The disinfected water is then cooled to a safe level by transferring the heat of the disinfected water to the incoming water – reusing the energy over and over.

For more information about the project, visit cityofventura.net.