The City of East Jordan Lagoon Pump House services 211 acres of pond water and is used April through October. In the past, the pipes were heated to keep from freezing in the winter. Kate Mowbray, the Wastewater Treatment Operator, at the City of East Jordan took a dive into process improvements at this location. Starting with draining the pipes and turning off the heat, essentially “winterizing” the building. In addition, the building was infrequently occupied so they shut down the step down transformer that provided power to the overhead lights. The transformer used a lot of electricity and generated unnecessary heat.
Their mission is to “lessen the impact that sewage and liquid waste have on the environment and to run as energy efficiently as possible without impacting the treatment process.” That mindset led to process improvements resulting in energy reduction. New, efficient technologies are frequently discussed in energy efficiency and while they serve a vital role in reducing utility use, it is also essential to rethink wasteful processes. Kate and her team are finding the balance of energy efficiency and improving the collection system.
Possible future projects include renewables at the waste plant, mitigating the infiltration of stormwater into the treatment process, and making their labs more sustainable. After a quick analysis of the site, they knew solar would not work directly on site as they are right next to an airport runway, but offsite options are being considered. For the stormwater mitigation projects, they are looking into manhole covers for low lying drains. Some months over half of the water entering the treatment plant comes from stormwater. They have received a grant of $14,000 from EGLE for collection system improvements and to reduce stormwater infiltration. With water treatment comes energy intensive lab equipment. To reduce consumption, they have partnered with the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council and My Green Labs to come up with sustainable solutions. Kate is planning to go through the Green Lab Ambassador program!
It was mentioned in our interview that “with rising costs, energy efficiency is something you can have control over in an otherwise uncontrollable world.” This project saved $2,600 annually with an immediate return on investment. We were excited to celebrate the City of East Jordan's accomplishments in energy efficiency at our annual Michigan Energy Summit on June 15, 2022 where they were awarded in the Other Category.