ERG Co-Authors EPA Wastewater Co-Digestion Report


ERG co-authored a recently published EPA life cycle assessment and cost report for a medium-scale Massachusetts wastewater facility expanding its capacity to process diverted food waste via anaerobic digestion. This process, where bacteria break down waste in the absence of oxygen, is commonly used by wastewater treatment plants to manage sewage sludge and create renewable energy. Results demonstrated that adoption of co-digestion—in which anaerobic digesters break down both the food waste and sewage sludge—reduced plant-wide environmental impacts and system operating costs in the majority of assessed categories. ERG provided technical support, model review, nutrient analysis, and manuscript preparation for the report. Our next step will be to prepare a communications article comparing food waste management through co-digestion to alternative resource recovery options such as composting. This work builds off previous analyses we completed for a small-scale wastewater facility considering similar upgrades for resource recovery, which are publicly available in a report and journal article.