With new property development, connecting to a local sewer network can be a difficult but necessary challenge to overcome. Construction of new sewer lines and pumping stations, in addition to increased capacity at the nearby treatment facility, can add significant cost and adversely affect the performance of the receiving facilities.
In the UK, a local developer’s proposed 5,000-unit residential development project would add pressure on the existing, already overloaded, treatment facility. To meet the increased demand, utilities commonly charge developers a “connection fee” to fund additional capacity. These connection fees are generally expected to cover associated piping and infrastructure costs borne by the utility, even if they rarely do so. In this instance, the connection fees totalled $4.9 million, with additional operational costs expected to be covered by future monthly sewer charges. To reduce the total infrastructure investment required, onsite treatment offers significant advantages through reduced network piping, pumping stations, and trunk sewer capacity challenges.
When evaluating onsite treatment options for the project, the utility faced serious concerns around anticipated impacts on the subject development and surrounding communities. Due to poor aesthetics and odor issues that contribute to a large “psychological footprint”, as well as the sizable land requirements typical of conventional solutions, key project stakeholders were reluctant to utilize such a system close to residential areas.
In looking for a viable alternative, the utility found the Organica FCR solution. Contrary to other options, Organica provides a competitive onsite treatment alternative, given its reduced lifecycle costs that would save the utility US$1.4 million over a 20 year lifecycle analysis when compared to a pumping station. Also, with minimal physical and no psychological footprint, utilizing the Organica solution would solve concerns for the newly constructed neighborhoods while enhancing property values.
In contrast to connecting to the main sewer network, the Organica solution offers numerous advantages:
With the ability to treat wastewater at the source, costly sewer infrastructure is minimized. Traditionally, laying new sewer pipes and building a new pumping station can take months to years in order to design, permit, and construct, creating delays in the development, unexpected problems for customers and motorists, and potential damage to public and private property.
Thus instead of pumping wastewater to the existing treatment facility and investing in the necessary infrastructure expansion costs, Organica’s onsite solution was able to reduce the Net Present Value (NPV) by approximately 15%.
With minimized energy consumption and sludge production, the Organica solution saves on operational costs. This allows for a 21% reduction in operational costs compared to the pumping station and capacity expansion alternative, generating an annual savings of up to US$155,000 for the utility.
With its minimal physical and zero psychological footprint, the Organica facility can be seamlessly integrated into any development with virtually no buffer zone, without negatively impacting property values. Organica’s sustainable solution and appealing aesthetics preserved “green space” within the community, bringing significant cost savings while also enhancing the public image of the development.
Assumptions: OPEX for both Organica and the alternative wastewater treatment option are assumed to increase at an annual rate of 3%. NPV is calculated over a 20-year time frame using a 10% discount rate. Sewerage network costs are based on an elevation difference of 1m and pumping distance of 3,220m from an existing wastewater treatment plant.
Disclaimer: Financial estimates used are based on a proposal for a greenfield project in the UK. Images are sample displays. This case study is created for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as a quote or offer of any kind. Financial data, OPEX, CAPEX, actual footprint, components (including but not limited to water reuse functionality), etc. may vary per project depending on the actual requirements.
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