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WSSC Water, Washington Gas to develop RNG project

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WSSC Water commissioners have approved an 18-year contract with Washington Gas (WGL) for a renewable natural gas (RNG) project.

The contract is for the construction and installation of approximately 900 feet of natural gas pipeline and related infrastructure to supply natural gas to, and convey RNG from, WSSC Water’s Piscataway Bioenergy facility in Accokeek, Maryland, in Prince George’s County.

WGL, a regulated gas utility that serves more than 1.2 million customers across Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, will seek the Maryland Public Service Commission’s approval of the project this summer. Once approved, construction of WGL’s infrastructure is expected to begin in spring next year.

The Piscataway Bioenergy project is how WSSC treats biosolids resulting from the wastewater treatment process. Currently, WSSC’s five major water resource recovery plants produce around 8,000 tons of biosolids each month.

Through innovative technology at the facility, the amount of biosolids left over from the treatment process will be significantly reduced and cleaner (Class A). The process used to create these Class A biosolids will generate methane, which will be captured and upgraded to RNG that WSSC will sell on the open market.

Selling RNG will generate Renewable Fuel Credits, which can be sold to the petroleum industry, generating additional revenue for WSSC.

“This contract approval is a significant step in delivering a project for our customers that will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, help protect the Chesapeake Bay, create renewable energy, and save our customers money,” said WSSC’s general manager and CEO, Carla Reid.

“I thank our commissioners for approving this funding and WGL for their partnership in delivering on a cleaner and greener future.”

The bioenergy facility will help protect the Chesapeake Bay by reducing GHG emissions by 15% and save WSSC customers more than $3 million (€2.4 million) per year by reducing its operating costs.

Construction of the $271 million (€221 million) facility began in May 2019 and is expected to be complete in the autumn of 2024.