Wastewater Treatment Energy Program

Program Eligibility

  • Publicly owned and operated facilities; either by local government or public agency established by legislative action. 

  • Capacity to treat a minimum of 1 Million Gallons per Day. 

  • Plants with capacity to treat Over 50 Million Gallons per Day are NOT eligible to participate in the pilot program.

  • Eligible facilities must be designed and scheduled to operate on a 24/7/365 basis.

  • Facilities must agree to certain energy efficiency prerequisite improvements (e.g., efficient lighting and motors)

Funding Guidelines

Energy Efficiency Savings Criteria

  • Proposed measure(s) for energy efficiency must reduce on-site facility/plant energy consumption by a minimum of 20% from a baseline year that reflects an average or typical operational plant profile. 

  • The Foundation will select projects that propose comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that: 
    • reduce the highest percentage of energy relative to plant baseline use; or 
    • lead to the "greenest" plant resulting in a "net zero energy" facility.
  • All proposed upgrades must provide measureable savings in kilowatt-hours.


Eligible Improvements

A typical profile of total electricity use in wastewater plants is 67% for aeration, 21% for pumping, 9% for other loads and 3% for lighting. If they have not already done so, applicants must target aeration and pumping systems.

Energy saving measures include but are not limited to:

  • aeration systems
  • turbo blowers
  • dissolved oxygen sensors
  • sludge dewatering
  • variable frequency drives (VFD) for pumps and motors

In addition, renewable energy systems are eligible for support.

Measures not eligible for funding:

  • building automation controls
  • voltage regulators
  • motors 
  • innovative HVAC
  • lighting
  • on-site electricity generating turbines



Energy Efficiency

  • As existing for measures under current Foundation program where applicable, e.g., $50 horsepower for VFD and $0.12 cents kWh reduced for turbo blowers & diffusers.

  • Measures for which the Foundation has not previously provided funding will be considered on a case by case basis.

Renewable Energy

Applicants that only seek funding for renewable energy systems must demonstrate that energy efficiency upgrade opportunities at the proposed plant site have been aggressively pursued. Such participants must propose renewable systems that provide over 25% of a facility/plant's annual energy requirements.

Incentives for the following renewable energy systems are available:

  • photovoltaics
  • solar thermal
  • wind
  • biogas 
  • other renewable energy technologies on a case-by-case basis.

For mor information about our renewable energy programs, please click here.


Funding is available to encourage the use of biogas obtained through anaerobic digestion of WWTP waste. Biogas use could offset electricity and natural gas purchases and eliminate flaring. The use of biogas along with energy efficiency and other renewables could assist a WWTP in becoming a net zero facility.

Biogas project funding is limited to a) the conditioning equipment needed to remove impurities from the biogas and b) settings where the biogas will be used in combined heat and power applications providing both electricity and heat.

Funding is limited to $250,000 or 50% of conditioning equipment cost, whichever is less. Combined funding from DCEO and ICECF for biogas conditioning systems cannot exceed 60% of the total cost.

Project Status

  • Projects may be no further along than the evaluation & design stage.
  • Projects where installation is underway or complete do not qualify.

In 2013, the Foundation launched a new Wastewater Pilot Program to reduce
energy consumption among publicly owned and operated facilities that treat
waste water by providing incentives for energy efficiency measures and
renewable energy systems.

For 2014, the pilot designation has been removed and applications will be due in the Foundation's biannual competitive grant cycles in January and July. The program will focus exclusively on funding energy efficiency improvements. Applicants interested in renewable energy systems must apply under the appropriate program also in the Foundation's biannual competitive grant cycles. For mor information about our renewable energy programs, please click here.

Application Deadlines:

Competitive applications are due January 14 and July 15, 2014 with approvals at the Foundation's Board of Trustees meetings in April and October.

Review Process:

Applications will follow the two stage process used in the competitive grant cycles starting with a Letter of Inquiry and a Full Proposal if invited.

Available Support:Funding is available up to $500,000 (with a minimum award of $50,000) and will follow specific formulas for individual energy efficiency systems.