By John Ostapkovich

CAMDEN (CBS) – There is a pilot project coming to Camden County where you might want to hold your nose at the idea, but it has a pretty compelling upside.

The Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority has about 100 miles of pipes bringing sewage to its wastewater treatment plant. Thanks to a $1.3 million grant from PSE&G it will soon be heating that plant using that wastewater.

This is a new take on geothermal heat, says Andrew Kricun, the Authority’s executive director.

“Just as in a normal geothermal project, you’re taking advantage of the fact that the ground is warmer underground and stays constant,” Kricun said. “Similarly, because the sewer pipes are 15- feet below ground, the sewage itself is at a constant temperature, so therefore it will be warmer than the outside ambient temperature.”

Solids will be strained from the wastewater, then it will pass through a heat exchanger. This will be in place by next fall and could save the authority $80,000 a year in heating costs.

“But the main thing is that it’s a pilot that, if successful, could be used elsewhere, anywhere there’s a sewer line,” Kricun said. “The heat that’s captured within in the sewage could be used in lieu of fuel oil or natural gas, so it could used to heat larger buildings.”

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