The aging infrastructure at the Lakota Wastewater Treatment Plant was in critical need of upgrade. Due to the inefficient, outdated systems, the plant required twice the horsepower in aeration equipment and was reliant upon chemical-aided treatment in order to comply with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit limits. Lakehaven Utility District sought to upgrade its Lakota plant to improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption and mitigate the risk of a potential plant failure.
Financing and managing critical upgrades Trane proposed that Lakehaven Utility District consider using the State of Washington Design/Build Energy Savings Performance Contracting Program (ESPC), authorized under state law and managed by the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services, as an option to help finance its needed upgrades. The district reviewed the proposal and, based on Trane’s leading performance in the wastewater treatment plant industry and positive references, selected Trane as its ESPC partner to manage the entire upgrade process.
Performance contracting is a funding option that provides measurable organizational results to support strategic objectives. It allowed Lakota Wastewater Treatment Plant to use future energy and operational savings to finance infrastructure improvements upfront. Working with Trane, the performance contract enabled the Lakehaven Utility District to secure a third party muni-loan at an attractive rate, allowing them to allocate their limited capital to other areas.
Optimizing resources, maintaining project ownership
By using Trane, one of a small group of firms prequalified by the State of Washington as a preferred energy services company (ESCO), Lakehaven Utility District saved the time and resources required to bid out the project. The partnership with Trane allowed the Lakehaven Utility District to make the best use of its limited staff, while utilizing Trane’s expertise.
The partnership also enabled the district to maintain ownership of the project, selecting the equipment that they preferred and choosing the contractors and consultants that best fit their needs, with a Trane performance contract guaranteeing the cost and performance.
Reducing costs, mitigating risks
Upgrades at the Lakota Wastewater Treatment Plant included a complete replacement and optimization of its secondary treatment aeration system. The treatment process evaluation/optimization maximizes energy and operational savings, while ensuring Department of Ecology code compliance and risk mitigation. The upgrades improve current process instability issues, lower operational and maintenance costs, reduce power consumption, and offset capital repairs. The improvements also allow for future biological nutrient removal air demand to be met for future nitrogen control.
Originally seeking to upgrade the outdated equipment and infrastructure at the Lakota Wastewater Treatment over several years, through the Energy Savings Performance Contracting Program, the Lakehaven Utility District was able to fund the complete replacement and optimization of its secondary treatment system aeration at one time with the guidance of Trane and assistance through the ESPC. The upgrades have greatly reduced the treatment plant’s risk of failure and compliance violations.
The plant upgrade has achieved $850,000 in energy and operational savings for the Lakehaven Utility District. The project, which included a 30 percent reduction in chemical costs, along with a one-time revenue grant of $602,000, delivered a positive cash flow return to the district in less than one year.
“We’re pleased that we were able to fund critical improvements through energy and operational savings," said Chris McCalib, wastewater operational manager for Lakehaven Utility District. “We’re also pleased that we could complete the project in less than a year, and delighted that we can realize a return on our investment early on.”