The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant has long been the bane of existence for residents of Greenpoint. The plant’s upgrade dumped massive amounts of pollution into the creek and contributed to the waterway’s designation as a Superfund site. But National Grid is working on a plan that would make the unsightly treatment plant a little more bearable. The utility company has teamed up with the city to build a gas processing facility that will convert excess methane from the plant into utility-grade natural gas. In other words, they want to turn your farts into fuel and sell it back to you.
The design is nearing completion and construction is expected to begin this year. If all goes as planned, the plant would be up and running by 2012. National Grid expects to capture 500 million cubic feet of gas per year, which is enough to heat 2,500 homes.
The sewage plant treats 1.2 million cubic meters of sludge every day. Currently, they eliminate excess anaerobic gas by burning it with highly visible flares that the neighborhood has complained about for decades. The Brooklyn Paper explains the new process in more detail:
Once operational, the facility will also remove carbon dioxide and unwanted compounds from the so-called “swamp gas” produced by the plant’s iconic egg-shaped digesters. Two on-site compressors will pressurize and inject the clean, odorless gas into National Grid’s distribution system at Maspeth and Varick avenues, and will eventually heat the homes and stoves of millions of New Yorkers. The resulting network will remove 16,650 tons of carbon dioxide annually — which is equivalent to keeping 3,000 vehicles off the road.
Some have already loving dubbed the new facility “The Fart Factory.”