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High-tech plant saves money by processing waste in unique way

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Posted at 6:06 PM, Jun 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-23 20:06:26-04

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah -- Tooele leads the country when it comes to turning the stuff we flush into the finest of fertilizers; their new solar-powered biosolids processing plant is now up and running.

Water Reclamation Superintendent Dan Olsen said the facility uses cutting-edge technology.

“This was an innovative plant in its beginning, and the city has continued that innovation by bringing in new technologies,” he said. “It's an all-natural process we use microorganisms or bugs that are found naturally. Those bugs, those microorganisms, eats the material in the waste water and then they reproduce, and so the biosolids become the dead bugs in the end.”

The plant’s program is the first of its kind in the country, as the way the material is moved is unique. The biosolids turner moves the solids down the line and purifies it as it goes until it becomes a fertilizer at the end of the line, which can be used for landscaping.

The city of Tooele gets more than 2 million gallons of waste water each day, and out of all of that material only about 1 cubic yard, or 173 gallons, can’t be reused. Olsen said everything else is utilized.

“So many of those so-called green technologies, a lot of them don't work,” he said. “This is one that does work. This is one that saves money. And it produces a product that can be reused.”

City officials said they save about $50,000 each year in hauling labor and chemical costs by using the advanced processes at the plant.

“Any time we can bring in good equipment that does the job better and saves money we are going to do that,” Olsen said.