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For too long, wastewater biosolids (often called “sludge”) were under appreciated by many, considered 
a waste by-product of wastewater treatment.  AlexRenew has worked for decades, along with the 
industry as a whole, to change public perceptions and demonstrate that biosolids are a valuable product 
and not a waste.   

In the mid-2000s, AlexRenew implemented a Prepasteurization system that enabled production of Class 
A Biosolids and production of more methane gas.  Through a partnership with Synagro, AlexRenew’s 
biosolids are land applied at farms in more than 15 counties in Virginia or blended to make George’s Old 
Town Blend.   AlexRenew and Synagro staff participate in AlexRenew’s EMS Program, which includes 
public outreach, communications, and quality management practices.  In 2008, AlexRenew’s biosolids 
were certified as Class A Exceptional Quality under the National Biosolids Partnership’s EMS Program.  
AlexRenew has since evolved their EMS program beyond biosolids, and is recognized by Virginia DEQ as 
an Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise (E4).  In 2015, 99.4% of AlexRenew’s biosolids were 
beneficially reused. 

A long range planning study is currently underway that will consider proven and emerging technologies 
to further optimize production of biosolids and methane gas (energy).  The study will be completed later 
this year, with phased implementation of the endorsed strategy to follow.  

AlexRenew is an active member of various organizations that promote beneficial reuse of biosolids, 
including VAMWA, MABA, and the VBC. 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY 

AlexRenew has pursued energy efficiency improvements for more than a decade.  Due to a confined 
footprint and constraints, AlexRenew faces various energy use challenges, including multiple onsite 
pump stations, and process air compressors for secondary treatment.  In the mid-2000s, AlexRenew 
embraced an ambitious goal:  To be a net zero energy user and eventually an energy producer. 

Various studies have been conducted to assess and optimize energy use.  Early studies led to 
implementation of energy efficient lighting, installation of more than 25 power monitors onsite, and 
construction of an adsorption chiller and dual feed boiler systems.  In 2015, AlexRenew produced 157 
million cubic feet of methane gas and used 92% of it to operate their facilities.   

A plant-wide Energy Master Plan Study was completed in 2014, evaluating all existing systems and 
energy usage and recommending improvements.  The master plan is now a guidance document for 
decision-making related to the plant’s electrical infrastructure and demands.   

AlexRenew has designated an onsite energy champion and supporting team that tracks energy usage 
and promotes improvements.  Since 2008, AlexRenew has reduced its annual electrical consumption by 
41 million BTUs or 17.3%.  AlexRenew has also joined the Department of Energy’s Performance and 
Better Plants Program to achieve ISO 50001 Energy Management Certification.  This is a voluntary 
commitment of 25% reduction in energy over 10 years.   

WATER REUSE 

AlexRenew constructed and commissioned a plant effluent water system in 2002, with a 10.4 mgd 
capacity.  The goal:  Offset potable water use to run plant processes and operations.  In 2015, 1.4 billion 
gallons of treated plant effluent were used onsite in lieu of potable water.