From Biosolids and Food Waste to Biomethane

A California water reclamation authority facility wins a 2023 Global Water Award as Wastewater Project of the Year

From Biosolids and Food Waste to Biomethane

An overview photo of California’s Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority.

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A state-of-the-art co-digestion and biogas upgrading facility at California’s Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority won the 2023 Global Water Award for Wastewater Project of the Year.

The Global Water Awards were established in 2006 by Global Water Intelligence to recognize important achievements in the international water, wastewater and desalination sectors. 

The award-winning project in Victorville is a public-private partnership between Victor Valley authority, Southwest Gas and the SoCal Biomethane subsidiary of Anaergia, a company that specializes in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by turning organic waste into renewable natural gas, fertilizer and water using proprietary technologies.

The Victor Valley facility collects methane from co-digestion of food waste and municipal biosolids and converts the material to renewable natural gas. Commissioned in 2022, it treats 235,000 tons per year of food waste and biosolids to produce 320,000 Mmbtu of biomethane. That gas is then converted into RNG for injection into a Southwest Gas pipeline for commercial distribution. 

The plant is North America’s largest privately financed co-digestion-to-biomethane project for pipeline injection at a clean-water plant. By co-digesting waste from off-site sources, the plant makes the authority a regional contributor to waste reduction beyond its own responsibilities. The demand for renewable use of food waste has grown with the passage of California’s SB 1383, which requires diversion of 75% of organic materials like food waste from landfills. 

Darron Poulsen, authority general manager, observes, “We are deeply honored to receive this international recognition for the innovative work we are doing with our partners. Our RNG project is a showcase of how public agencies, utilities and private business can come together to help resolve significant environmental challenges.”

The Global Water Awards are presented each year at the Global Water Summit, the major business conference for the worldwide water industry. The Victor Valley project competed against projects from Egypt, China and Saudi Arabia. The authority’s regional resource recovery facility produces recycled water, renewable natural gas and nutrient rich soil amendments.

Anaergia was also recognized at the Global Water Awards as Net Zero Carbon Champion. That award goes to the company whose products and services are judged to have done the most to reduce customers’ carbon emissions. The awards program also noted the company’s role as a lifecycle-solutions partner for wastewater facilities, offering a wide array of technologies along with services such as project financing and operations.


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