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NARRATIVE: The Hermitage Municipal Authority is a regional utility that provides collection, 
conveyance, treatment, and reuse of wastewater in the area surrounding the City of Hermitage, Mercer 
County, Pennsylvania. The Authority receives wastewater from a total of five municipalities and 
administers the capital planning and finances of the operation.  The facility is operated and optimized by 
the City of Hermitage, with some staff having dual employment with the City and Authority to provide 
commonality of vision and leadership. The City Staff are managed by a Superintendent that reports to 
the City Manager, along with reporting to the Authority Board.  

The City Staff are organized in a department that focuses on wastewater collection and treatment. Crew 
leaders are assigned to each major area of the facility, including wastewater collection system and pump 
stations, hydraulic treatment train, biosolids treatment train, and food waste receiving.  The facility 
receives FOG, septage and pre-/post- consumer food waste and recalled products for co-digestion, and 
manages that portion of the facility as a merchant facility with income generated from waste diversion 
from landfills. To date, the Authority and City have received waste and recalled food products from 26 
different states, converting all of it to renewable energy through the on-site combined heat and power 
(CHP) unit.  

The Authority and City focus on a Sustainability Mission and used the last capital upgrade of the 
wastewater treatment plant to propel the Authority in a new direction. In lieu of a conventional 
upgrade, the Authority selected an advanced anaerobic digestion process that produces a Class A 
Biosolid for Soil Amendment, while maximizing biogas production with co-digestion. Synergistically, this 
strategy allowed the Authority to focus on the two highest non-labor cost centers for the facility, 
landfilling of biosolids and electricity. The program implementation has been very successful, 
documenting over $320,000 in annual cost reductions for the Authority and City.  

The City Staff continue to collaboratively identify opportunities for improvement and the Authority and 
City meet quarterly to review their Strategic Plan and new opportunities.  Recently identified 
collaborations include:  

 

Partnering with a regional grocery chain to identify opportunities for food and waste diversion  

 

Partnering with the local school district to experiment with food scraps for co-digestion  

 

Completion of a study to convert biogas to renewable CNG for vehicle fleet and commercial sale 

 

Identification of opportunity for solar energy and battery storage  

Outside of opportunities for wastewater and renewable energy improvements, the City reviews 
quarterly its staffing and management structure to identify opportunities to improve efficiency. This 
group, including Authority Board Members and City Management, question key performance metrics 
and staffing levels. Recently identified improvements for evaluation include:  

 

Elimination of weekend pump station labor in lieu of SCADA improvements to manage the loss 
of staff from retirements  

 

Evaluation of laboratory practices to diversify labor practices and reduce weekend staff 
requirements  

 

Expansion of biosolids processing to seven days a week from five days to account for increased 
food waste receiving.