State and Local Climate and Energy Program
Water / Wastewater
- American Water Works Association: WaterWiser
- ENERGY STAR for Wastewater Plants and Drinking Water Systems
- EPA Sustainable Water Infrastructure — Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- Federal Water Efficiency Best Management Practices
- National Municipal Water and Wastewater Facility Initiative
- Water Environment Research Foundation
- EPA State Technical Forum on Clean Energy in Water and Wastewater Treatment Facilities
- State Bioenergy Primer
Drinking water and wastewater systems account for approximately 3-4 percent of energy use in the United States, resulting in the emissions of more than 45 million tons of greenhouse gases annually.
For many local governments, drinking water and wastewater plants are one of the largest energy consumers, accounting for 30-40 percent of total energy consumed. Because these services are so energy intensive, they provide an excellent opportunity for efficiency, savings, and reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Improved energy efficiency is also an important component of a utility's overall management and will help ensure the long-term sustainability of our Nation's water and wastewater infrastructure.
EPA's Sustainable Water Infrastructure program provides materials and funding sources for water utilities to ease budget strains through energy efficiency - while contributing to climate change mitigation and both local and national energy independence.
Determine Baseline Energy Use
The first step to improving energy usage is to understand current energy use patterns. Resources for benchmarking current use can show where efficiency opportunities lie. Benchmarking and audits at water utilities can also be part of broader climate change mitigation and clean energy efforts at the local government level.
Cut Energy Use and Costs
Energy efficiency can reduce energy use, energy costs, and GHG emissions at water and wastewater treatment facilities. EPA offers a comprehensive step-by-step guide (PDF) (113 pp, 1.2M) to help water utilities manage energy and develop an effective energy management program, including conducting an energy audit.
Go Green with Renewable Energy Options
Water and wastewater utilities also have excellent opportunities available for generating their own power and reducing GHG emissions - through 'combined heat and power' strategies and alternate energy sources.