Synagro Technologies, Inc.

Philadelphia Recycling Center case study

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Courtesy of Synagro Technologies, Inc.

The Challenge
An arm of the City of Philadelphia Water Department, the Biosolids Recycling Center (BRC) was in need of critical support. Consisting of a dewatering complex and a compost operation that utilized a portion of the dewatered biosolids (with the balance transported offsite for disposal), the BRC had an expired Title V air management operating permit and was at risk of regulatory enforcement.

Enter Philadelphia Biosolids Services (PBS), a joint venture led by Synagro - one of the country’s preeminent providers of waste capture and conversion. Facing a host of difficult challenges, the PBS mandate was clear: reduce odors; improve site aesthetics; and produce, distribute and market Class A EQ product in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations and at a competitive cost.

The Solution
Charged with fully managing all city-dewatered biosolids, Synagro and PBS assumed interim operation of the BRC Dewatering Complex in October 2008.

Our focus: to build a state-of-the-art thermal drying facility that leverages Synagro’s industry-leading technology.

Our strategy: to provide dewatering and beneficial use management of Philadelphia’s dewatered biosolids via land application, mine remediation and other beneficial use options while construction is underway.

It’s a comprehensive approach that has yielded immediate results, maximizing sustainability while streamlining costs. And the long-term picture is equally bright: Expected to reach commercial operation in early 2012, the new thermal drying facility will transform the city’s environmental footprint and offer tangible benefits both locally and beyond.

The Success
Powered by Synagro - which has successfully operated thermal drying systems since 1991 - PBS is helping the city of Philadelphia blaze a trail to serious technical and environmental innovation. Its signature emphasis on smart, effective, targeted solutions provides a full spectrum of meaningful improvements, including:

  • Managing 100 percent of the city’s biosolids into a “Class A” pathogen-free biosolids product that EPA classifies as a fertilizer
  • Incorporating a cutting-edge rainwater collection system to reduce both the volume of storm water routed to the wastewater treatment plant and the potable water used by the thermal drying facility
  • Minimizing off-site odors and noises
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring compliance with air management regulations
  • Shrinking current operations from 59 to 19 acres, allowing the city to recapture property for other productive uses
  • Cutting annual truck deliveries by 7,000 per year
  • Creating 75 construction positions and 30 long-term jobs
  • Saving an estimated $200 million over the life of PBS’s 23-year contract with the city

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