MIDDLEPORT — A grant of $100,000 has been awarded by the Ohio Department of Energy to Middleport to conduct a study on the feasibility of constructing a bio-diesel reactor and other energy-saving improvements at the village’s sewage lagoons.
The grant money can be used only for hiring a firm to do the engineering for the project geared toward determining whether or not it will work in the two 17-acre lagoons which have already been equipped with four Solar-Bee units which mix sewage flowing through the lagoons as it is chemically treated before going into the Ohio River.
The proposed bio-diesel reactor would further cleanse the sewage, killing the bad algae, saving the good algae, so that when the fluid is dumped into the river, it is almost pure, devoid of all contaminates, according to Faymon Roberts, Middleport Village administrator.
Should the engineering warrant moving forward on the proposed reactor project which would not only provide power for operating the system and reduce the cost of chemical treatment, but provide good algae to be sold by the village to fertilizer and other companies, then the village will move forward on seeking funding for the installation.
“Hopefully the engineering (which is under way already) will prove the project is feasible,” said Mayor Mike Gerlach.
He added that since environmental issues and new ways of addressing them are at the forefront for both federal and state government grant money Middleport’s project has a good chance of being funded if it is determined feasible by the engineering firm.
Gerlach emphasized that this could be of real financial help for Middleport because it would, “drastically reduce the cost of operation to the village.”
The engineering study has to be completed by the end of September, according to the grant specifications.
The Solar-Bee system, used in the village lagoons to stir the sewage which has to be treated with costly chemicals before being dumped into the Ohio River, was built with $181,400 in stimulus money three years ago. With a bio-diesel reactor, not only would treatment costs be reduced, but the fluid going into the river would be practically devoid of contaminating material, and the good algae could be sold.
As explained by Gerlach and Roberts, sewage going into the lagoons settles as it moves from one pond to the other, and it takes 120 days before it finishes settling out. The chlorine chemicals used to kill the bad algae and the required electricity to run the system come at a high cost to the village. With the proposed reactor system, enough electricity would be generated to run the whole system, Gerlach said.