El Paso Water Utility officials said the utility has developed green technology in a true sense of the word.
During a news conference Thursday at the Robert Bustamante Water Treatment Plant, EPWU unveiled new technology that converts solid waste in the wastewater sent to its three treatment plants into energy.
John Balliew, the vice president of operations, explained during a tour of the wastewater treatment plant how the technology works. Solids are separated from the water and funneled into a digestor. Bacteria breaks down the material into a gas. The gas is sent to a generator, which creates energy used by the plant.
"It saves us 25 percent of our overall energy bill," said John Balliew, Vice President of Operations for EPWU. "And for this plant in particular," Balliew continued, gesturing to the Bustamante plant behind him, "the total amount of energy is about $1 million a year. So it's a significant amount of money."
EPWU spokeswoman Christina Montoya said the amount of power saved could power 2,000 homes. Montoya added that with EPWU generating some of its own power, there will be savings to customers.
"The less money that we have to spend on electricity, the less that we have to put into our overall budget for electricity," she said. "So every year when we look at our water rates, we take that into consideration."
The technology took 18 months to create and was paid for with a stimulus grant from the Texas Energy Conservation Office.