The City of Hermitage, in recent years has been taking new strides towards a more sustainable way in which they deal with and treat waste of all forms from area. This month, City officials have finally received the approval from the PA Department of Environmental Protection for the Class A bio-solid product that is produced by the Cities (state-of-the-art) Wastewater and Food Recycling Digester. The Class A bio-solid (one of the many end products) is typically used as a fertilizer by local farmers in our area to grow crops. The plant utilizes an advanced anaerobic digestion system that breaks down waste to yield bio-gas. The plant then uses the bio-gas to generate electricity that is then but into the grid in exchange for a credit to the Cities electricity bill.

Prior to the new facility being in place, the plant had a monthly electricity cost of roughly $25,000 and currently that cost has been cut down to a mere $3,000. The facility has been accepting food waste such as grease, wine, dairy, beer, vegetables, raw meat etc. in addition to sewage to effectively increase its bio-gas production. By recycling the waste, more than 15,000 gallons of waste per week is no longer delivered to landfills. The Wastewater Food Digester is one of eight facilities of its kind in the United States of America.

On July, 28, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to tour the facility with members from the eCenter at Linden Pointe and representatives from the Hillman foundation. Come September 16-18, the eCenter will be holding the Shenango Valley region’s first Startup Weekend Hermitage: Energy Edition. The theme (Energy Edition) was decided due to the new facility that the City of Hermitage has recently installed. Our tour on the 28th was intended to see how many innovative ways energy can be generated from food waste. More so, at the eCenter we want to raise the awareness of innovative ways in which our community can turn its waste into a viable energy production source through the collaborative Startup Weekend event.