Helping the upstate recycle more than water
At ReWa, our focus isn’t on making headlines. Our focus is on providing quality services to our customer base, promoting public health through a cleaner environment, and protecting Upstate waterways.
We also place emphasis on forward thinking, which includes providing the necessary sewer infrastructure for growth, exploring further re-use opportunities, and utilizing technologies that provide value to our customers.
Take a few moments to browse our renewable by-products, learn more about our initiatives, our resources and most importantly, our promise to you.
Biosolids Recycling Program: PROVIDING FARMERS WITH ORGANIC FERTILIZER
The ReWa Biosolids Recycling Program is a sound way to put a valuable resource to work for our environment. With state of the art equipment, our WRRFs reclaim safe organic material from the millions of gallons of wastewater that is cleaned daily. These nutrient-rich organics, called biosolids, can be beneficially reused as a natural and environmentally sound fertilizer.
ReWa treats wastewater that is transported through subdistrict collection lines to ReWa trunk lines that flow to one of eight ReWa WRRFs. Primary treatment of the wastewater separates and removes solids that settle or float before it is moved to secondary treatment. In the secondary process, the wastewateris treated with beneficial bacteria. Once the wastewater reaches the secondary clarifier, the microorganisms are removed from the process and stabilized in a digester for land application. This nutrient-rich organic material is called biosolids. The biosolids are useful as organic fertilizers for agriculture, forestry, and soil improvement.
Used as an agricultural fertilizer, the biosolids produced by ReWa enhance crop production by improving soil fertility and organic content. Area farmers collectively save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year by using biosolids instead of processed chemical fertilizers.
All biosolids recycling must meet strict quality standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). These standards are based on long-term studies regarding the safety and effectiveness of biosolids. The US Department of Agriculture and the US Food and Drug Administration also encourage the beneficial use of biosolids.
ReWa’s biosolids program has met or exceeded federal, state, and local environmental standards for recycling of biosolids since the program began in 1989. A SCDHEC certified laboratory monitors all of ReWa’s biosolids.
ReWa recycles biosolids from its Durbin Creek, Georges Creek, Gilder Creek, Lower Reedy, Mauldin Road, and Piedmont Regional facilities. On an annual basis, 85% of the organics recovered by ReWa are recycled back into the local farming economy.
In 2010, ReWa was recognized by the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP) for the implementation of the Biosolids Management Program. ReWa was the first agency in SC and 33rd in the Nation to receive this certification. ReWa was awarded Platinum level certification for this program in calendar year 2014.
To request more information about our biosolids program, fill out the Biosolids Land Application Request (online form)
Water Reuse: Recycling Water and Saving our Most Valuable Resource
At ReWa, we are dedicated to finding new ways to recycle one of our invaluable resources—water. Clean water is water that is treated to nearly drinking water standards. This water, while it is not drinking water, supplements the flow of local rivers where it supports aquatic life and helps other communities downstream to enjoy an abundance of water for recreational uses and production of drinking water. In fact, our own WRRF utilize clean water and this product is ideal for use in irrigation of lawns and fields.
From Water to Power: Capturing Methane Gas from Water, Recycling as Usable Energy
By capturing methane gas – a by-product of the treatment process — from wastewater, ReWa can produce usable energy that is utilized in daily operations, reducing energy consumption. Having been granted the ability to develop and implement processes to generate energy from alternate sources, ReWa now has the capability to sell wholesale electricity. Additionally, this clean-burning gas is recycled to provide the heat needed to partially support the biological treatment processes at each WRRF.
This electricity generation capacity is just one component of ReWa’s renewable resources portfolio, which helps save energy and offset rate increases for our customers. The recycled methane not only reduces energy costs, but conserves some of our country’s natural gas supply each year.
In 2010, we implemented this methane-to-energy process at both our Mauldin Road and Pelham WRRF, where we capture methane gas and pipe it into power generators. In turn, the energy is beneficial to utilities such as Duke Power because of reduced energy consumption.
ReWa is forward thinking – helping turn opportunity into value.
environmental management system: Setting the Standard in Biosolid Management
An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a set of standard procedures and steps that biosolids managers can use to:
- Ensure the environmental integrity of their biosolids program
- Improve the effectiveness of their operations
- Meet regulatory requirements
- Address issues of concern to stakeholders and the public
The Biosolids EMS Program also relies on outside stakeholders and independent auditors to ensure that ReWa is effectively implementing plans that promote environmental and community health.
The EMS approach was developed by the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP), a nonprofit alliance of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the EPA, and the Water Environment Federation (WEF). It is a voluntary program that can be adapted to meet the needs and goals of each participating agency. The Biosolids EMS Program is used to promote continual advancements in activities pertaining to environmental performance by helping agencies identify and create plans for improvement in:
- Product and Service Quality
- Regulatory Compliance
- Risk Management and Preparedness
- Credibility with Stakeholders
- Record-keeping, Documentation and Information Management
ReWa has voluntarily adopted the NBP approach and committed to the 10 principles in its Code of Good Practice to help ensure that our biosolids program runs as efficiently and effectively as possible. The EMS Manual is the framework for ReWa’s Biosolids EMS Program.
In 2010, ReWa received national certification through the NBP for its EMS program for biosolids, becoming the 33rd agency in the nation and the 1st agency in the state! Click here to view the full audit report.
In keeping with our promise of continual improvement, in June of each year ReWa will conduct internal audits of the EMS program to ensure that we continue to maintain NBP requirements. As well, every five years, a complete re-certification will be performed by an outside audit agency. Any comments or concerns from our stakeholders are valuable to the success of our program and we invite you to participate in any of our audits. See additional resources below to access reports.