Nevada City may soon be flushed with power |

Nevada City may soon be flushed with power

Eileen JoyceA pipe from the Nevada City wastewater treatment plant sends cleaned effluent into Deer Creek. A proposed hydroelectric generator would use the power of the flowing water to create electricity for the plant.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Flushing the toilet in Nevada City could soon brighten someone’s night.

City officials plan to install a hydroelectric turbine at the outflow pipe of the city’s sewage plant where half a million gallons a day of treated wastewater comes blasting into Deer Creek.

Harnessing this untapped source of power would cost an estimated $25,000. But a feasibility study showed the turbine project would pay for itself in five to seven years, said city manager Mark Miller. Nevada City would sell the electricity to Pacific Gas and Electric, Co.

“It’ll go back into the (power) grid,” Miller said.

City councilman Steve Cottrell said the miniature hydroelectric generator would help put a dent in the sewage plant’s annual $40,000 electric bill.

“The taxpayers will receive a big savings,” he said.

Cottrell said he casually mentioned the idea of generating electricity at the sewage plant a couple years ago to city engineer Bill Falconi, who replied: “You know, that’s not a totally crazy idea.”

It’s not certain when the generator might get installed. The city’s next steps will be preparing preliminary design work and environmental documentation.

Other potential “green” power sources being eyed by city officials include possibly installing a hydroelectric turbine at the irrigation water pipe which feeds the city’s water treatment plant. And possibly installing solar electric panels atop the pool building at Pioneer Park.

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