MCSD seeks energy savings

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Jack Durham
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE – McKinleyville is pursuing a multimillion dollar project to install solar panels and upgrade pumps and generators in an effort to save energy.

The McKinleyville Community Services District (MCSD) Board of Directors voted unanimously April 6 to apply for grant funding to pay for a portion of the $4.5 million project.

Although it is uncertain how much grant funding will be available for the project, MCSD Manager Greg Orsini said he is optimistic that at least a portion of it will be funded by the State Water Resources Control Board. The individual components of the project will likely be designed this summer, with construction to begin in early 2017.

A 655 KW solar photovoltaic system would be installed at the Wastewater Treatment Plant at Hiller Park. The system, which is anticipated to last at least 30 years, would save the district about $219,000 a year in electricity costs.

Additional power savings would come from the replacement of pumps and generators used by the district’s sewer system. The savings that would result have yet to be calculated. New generators would be installed at the Letz Sewer Lift Station and the Fischer Road Lift Station. The generators are more efficient than the older ones, with reduced emissions. The lift stations pump sewage to the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Hiller Lift Station would get new pumps, which would save energy and increase pumping capacity.

Another way of saving energy is to reduce stormwater inflow into the sewer system, something the district hopes to accomplish with the purchase of eight FLO-DAR flow totalizers, high-tech gadgets that measure flows through sewer lines. The devices can be moved around, so the district can figure out where excess water is bleeding into the town’s sewer system. The district can then repair the holes and save itself the costs of pumping and treating stormwater.

Also at last week’s meeting, the board approved a three-year contract with its employees, who will receive a 1.15 percent cost of living increase this year.

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