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City cuts costs with solar-power sewage pumping station

Pumped up: Solar panels have been fitted to the Corporation of Hamilton’s pump station (Photograph supplied)

The City of Hamilton’s sewage system has been given a boost after solar panels were installed at a pumping station.

The 78 panels on the Front Street building are expected to save the City $30,000 a year in electricity costs.

Charles Waters, the corporation’s assistant city engineer, said: “This is a huge electrical load in pumping energy. We spend more than a quarter of a million dollars each year on electricity costs for this pump station alone.

“The solar panels will really chew into the baseload amount and substantially lower our Belco bills – by as much as ten per cent initially.

“We will start seeing a financial return as soon as the panels come online.”

The station pumps more than 500,000 gallons of sewage a day out of Hamilton to the Seabright outfall on South Shore.

The solar panel installation is one of several planned by the corporation in a bid to cut fuel costs.

Solar carports are to be installed on the fourth floor of Bull’s Head car park and at City Hall car park, which will offset electricity costs at the Works Depot and City Hall.

Solar projects are also in the pipeline for Pier 6 and Customs House.

A spokeswoman for the corporation said: “The energy generated from these solar projects would power those buildings as well as feed into the Front Street pump station – potentially lowering energy costs to the pump station by a further 25 per cent.”

City technicians are also at work on energy-saving interior renovations, including conversion of the lighting network to LED.

Wastewater technicians have video surveyed almost half of the city’s sewer line in the past year to check for cracks and leaks.

Mr Waters said one of the biggest problems the city faced was found to be storm and groundwater getting into the sewage system.

He added: “This can happen if a manhole is not sealed properly, if there is an incorrect connection to the sewage line, or if there is a broken pipe.

“It costs the city a significant amount of money to pump all of the non-sewage water all the way over to South Shore.

“Some parts of the city sewage system are actually under the water table, so if a line breaks, it allows literally thousands of gallons of seawater into the system which we then have to pump across the island.”

Mr Waters said the survey allowed the city to identify cracks, repair the system and patch the holes.

He added: “To fix the pipes, technicians feed an inflatable bladder through the pipes to the location of the crack which is wrapped in a silica -resin epoxy impregnated fibreglass.

“When we reach the location of the break, we inflate it and let the epoxy resin set. The new waterproof membrane stops the water from coming in and saves us from having to dig up the road at a large expense.”

The city has completed four major repairs so far which are expected to save the city tens of thousands of dollars every year.

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Published February 24, 2021 at 2:06 pm (Updated February 24, 2021 at 2:06 pm)

City cuts costs with solar-power sewage pumping station

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