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Roseville Electric pursues new option for addressing wastewater

Looking at deep-well injection as a possibility
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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The Roseville Energy Park may change the way it deals with wastewater in an effort to save money and become more reliable.

Roseville Electric, which operates the energy park in west Roseville, is considering using a method called the Liquid Management System to address wastewater generated during the production of electricity. This system involves the deep-well injection of wastewater into the ground.

This change is at least a year away from happening and requires appropriate permitting, solicitation of public comments and final approval from Roseville City Council.

"We will do a very extensive public outreach process as we move forward," said Roseville Electric Director Michelle Bertolino during the July 18 council meeting.

The council unanimously approved the project's third phase by agreeing to enter into a professional services agreement with Worley Parsons to conduct the environmental process, outreach, design and engineering plans. The agreement includes a not-to-exceed fee of $1.23 million.

The council's approval does not signal the start of construction. The third phase will take at least 12 months, and then staff will return to the council with a recommendation on opening the project up to bids. Construction would then take 6 to 9 months.

The wastewater project has been under way for several years. In 2005, the California Energy Commission granted the city a permit for an energy park, requiring that no water leave the site.

Roseville's Energy Park uses recycled water from the Pleasant Grove Wastewater Treatment Plant across the street to cool its equipment. This cooling process can produce up to 324,000 gallons of non-hazardous water daily that needs to be treated, said interim Power Plant Manager Matt Garner during the council meeting.

"We're not allowed to just let that (water) flow into the river or put it down a drain," Garner said. "We have to process that water into a pure state."

The city currently uses a Zero Liquid Discharge system to address wastewater from the energy park, which began commercial operations in 2007. In 2009, the city realized this system is costly and unreliable, Bertolino said.

Garner said Roseville Electric considered four criteria in determining to pursue the Liquid Management System option: The method has to be technologically feasible, save ratepayers money, meet regulatory requirements and protect freshwater aquifer.

He said the Zero Liquid Discharge system costs Roseville Electric up to $2 million annually. The new system would cost about $200,000 a year.

Mike Tietze, of Worley Parsons, said these Liquid Management System wells are typically designed for 25-year lifespan.

"What's needed is correct geology and then they can run for a long time," Tietze said.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.