By Ashleigh Rogers
Holt Journal staff writer
The Delhi Township Board of Trustees decided at a town meeting on March 15 to approve construction of two 400-foot greenhouses that will convert human waste to fuel to generate power.
The project consists of a final treatment of the township’s waste water, which will be done through a de-watering mechanism and a sludge drying process. This type of waste treatment is used in Europe.
“Other areas of the world are being told that this is the way to go and this is our opportunity,” said Township Supervisor Stuart Goodrich. Goodrich explained that this project is intended to be the final step toward making the township’s treatment plant a complete circle of renewable energy. The “green” stimulus money offered to the township in the amount of $2.5 million, confirmed the completion of the plant’s circle. The money came from the state’s Clean Water Revolving Fund.
The township plans to fund the rest of the project through a low interest – loan and grants.
Trustee Derek Bajema voted against the project, his reason being the extra $1.20 per month fee on township residents’ monthly sewer bill. “Along with other fee increases, township residents are paying more and more per year just to flush the toilet,” Bajema explained.
Delhi Township’s Director of Public Services Sandra Diorka explained that the sludge drying process is projected to be $20,000 cheaper than simply hauling the wastes away. “This doesn’t include the income from selling the product,” she explained. “This could range from $12,000 to $18,000 per year.”
Other communities such as Eaton Rapids and Michigan State University have begun to show interest in the project, as well. However, Michigan State’s decision is on hold while it applies to amend its air permit, which allows the burning of the wastes for fuel.
Construction is expected to begin in April of 2012.