Jersey also has to develop acceptable in state resources for sewage
sludge disposal. The current
paradigm of landfilling this material in state or shipping it hundreds
of miles out of state is not a sustainable or responsible solution.
The BPU and DEP should jointly develop policies and spearhead
efforts to find in state uses including use as energy resource or other
sustainable solutions. If sewage sludge is incinerated this should only
be done with technologies which can assure that the emissions will meet
NJ clean air standards and that will to the maximum extent feasible
recover the energy so that the use of fossil fuels can be reduced.
addition to the desire to use treated effluent safely to reduce pressure
on potable water resources, effluent can also be an energy source.
The use of advanced heat pumps to extract heat from or reject
heat to water prior to discharge is an accepted and encouraged use in
Europe. NJ regulators and
energy programs should seek ways to support innovative technologies such
as this to become commercially accepted. Industrial facilities also can
use bio-treatment on their waste water discharge to minimize their
biological oxygen demand (BOD) and help manage their water treatment
cost. A focused program to
promote these technologies as well as anaerobic digesters to fairly
value these onsite resources would save energy and provide
justifications for the necessary investments.
allowed, regulatory flexibility with waste water treatment processes can
be interrupted or curtailed as part of a demand response program,
however this is not often possible due to the environmental regulations.
Efforts in this area need to revisit the processes used for water
treatment and to recognize that short term interruptions have little or
no impact on the efficacy of the process, but can save thousands of
dollars. This would not ask
or expect any relaxation of the final discharge permits which are in
place to provide protection of our streams and rivers.
Some flexibility and cooperation in seeking the most cost
effective solutions that do not compromise the environment is the
mutually desired goal.