Steadily becoming known as an environmentally conscious community, Fowler carries on its endeavor by exploring the possibility of implementing green technology at the sewer lagoons north of town. Literally green, in the form of living plants, this alternative process developed by Bio2 Solutions will treat the town's waste water using single-cell algae, rather than mechanical aeration components. Representatives with Bio2 Solutions were in the Fowler area on Feb. 3 gathering data to be used in a feasibility study.
According to Town Manager, Wayne Snider, the technology will allow Fowler's current system to meet regulatory requirements with far lower cost, far lower power consumption, lower odor and lower environmental impact. It is even possible the current need for nine lagoons could be significantly reduced.
“Our current system is very efficient,” says Snider. “But, new restrictions on selenium and ammonia will continue to rise, and by using the algae system, Fowler could meet those requirements even more effectively at a lower cost.”
Snider also points to another aspect of the technology he thinks will be an exciting opportunity for Fowler. As algae is used to treat waste water, a by product of that process could be used to manufacture biofuel. “The possibility to manufacture and market biofuel definitely exists,” comments Snider. In addition to that, phosphorus from the biomass could also be extracted and used in fertilizer.
If implemented, the system would utilize power from a future 600 watt solar installation near the lagoons. While electric consumption would be minimized, a small amount of power would still be needed to maintain an on site greenhouse as well as a mixing system to effectively disperse algae throughout the water.
The $14,000 study is being entirely funded by grants from the Department of Local Affairs and the Colorado Water Resources Power and Development Authority. Snider expects findings to be available in the first part of March.