By David Madden

CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) — The Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority will become energy independent over the next couple years, the first MUA in the state to do so.

Officials took to the roof of the Authority headquarters to show how they’re getting their sewage treatment plant off the power grid.

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Between solar panels already in place, bio-gas production, and a deal with the nearby Covanta trash to steam plant, that’ll happen by 2019.

County Freeholder Jeffrey Nash. (credit: David Madden)

“Where the CCMUA requires energy and has an abundance of clean water by the nature of its operation, Covanta, its neighbor, needs water for its operation and has an abundance of energy through its operation,” County Freeholder Jeffrey Nash told KYW Newsradio. “This is simply a marriage that was made to happen.”

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The move will save the Authority about $1 million a year while protecting operations in the event of a power outage.

MUA Executive Director Adam Kricun notes the hookup will come in handy in the event of a natural disaster.

MUA Executive Director Adam Kricun. (credit: David Madden)

“A plant in North Jersey was knocked out during Hurricane Sandy and billions of gallons of raw sewage went into the river untreated, undoing much of the environmental good work that they had done,” Kricun said. “We want to make sure that our plant doesn’t suffer the same fate when the next storm comes around. So it’s very important for us to get off the grid.”

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State bonds will cover the $40 million construction cost.