Harnessing the power of bacteria and locking in lower electric rates helped Montgomery County government cut rates in half at a water reclamation plant — and earn a $650,000 rebate.
Dayton Power and Light awarded Montgomery County the rebate Tuesday after the county invested in new equipment at its River Road water reclamation facility and changed how it paid for energy.
Montgomery County spent $3.6 million in 2015 to update the aeration equipment at its West Carrollton water reclamation facility, equipment that originally was installed in the 1970s, said Pat Turnbull, the county’s director of environmental services.
The plant uses bacteria to consume nutrients in the water being treated. Turnbull said the bacteria — he calls them “bugs” — need oxygen, particularly as they multiply. The aeration equipment provides that oxygen.
The plant treats wastewater from multiple jurisdictions before discharging it into the Great Miami River. The upshot, though, is that the investment cut the plant’s electricity consumption, resulting in a yearly savings of $500,000.
The plant also uses “block and index” purchasing of energy, said Briana Wooten, a spokeswoman for the county. A common move among large manufacturers, she said plant manager Kevin Krejny purchases of blocks of electricity in advance of usage. The plant also occasionally turns on generators to take itself off the power grid.
Both moves save money, Wooten said.
DP&L offers credits recognizing — and rewarding — that reduction of loading or electricity consumption.
The award is the largest rebate to the county that Turnbull is aware of.
“We are using half the electricity we did in 2012 to get the same (water) treatment,” Krejny told county commissioners Tuesday.
Tom Raga, president and chief executive of DP&L, told commissioners that the utility has awarded businesses $25 million in rebates since 2009.
The county’s rebate of $650,000 represents 7.9 kilowatt-hours, or about the same amount of power that 850 homes would use for an entire year, Raga said.
“This is great for all of our citizens because it’s going to save them money in the long run,” said county commission president Judy Dodge.
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