Juneau considers buying $20 million thermal dryer as permanent fix to sewage problem

IndustriesAssociated Press

The City and Borough of Juneau is exploring options so it doesn't have to ship leftovers from its waste treatment plants to Oregon.

Assembly members said Monday they favor buying a $20 million thermal dryer to remove moisture from the sewage, the Juneau Empire reported (http://is.gd/BV9TwK).

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Juneau began shipping its sewage biosolids, the leftovers from the plants, to Oregon in 2010 when the city's sewage sludge incinerator broke down beyond repair. The cost is about $2 million a year.

The assembly also considered composting, but a lack of enough flat industrial land in the city posed a problem.

Samantha Stoughtenger and Michele Elfers of the Public Works Department recommended construction of a thermal dryer at the Juneau-Douglas Wastewater Treatment Plant, to be completed by April 2017.

The $20 million price tag could be offset by buying a furnace that would burn the sludge pellets, which would create energy for the dryer. The cost of the furnace isn't included in the $20 million.