Photo via peasap via Flickr CC
Superfund sites are hazardous waste areas that were once abandoned but have (finally) received funding for clean-up efforts. They're all over the US and are usually kept on the down-low in the public eye by the government since they're so hazardous to those living nearby. So when something is going right at a superfund site, the EPA is eager to get the same good thing going at other sites. Such has happened with a smart solar-powered wastewater treatment set-up that is cleaning up polluted groundwater at a site in Sacramento, California. According to CleanTechnica, a 40-acre, 6MW solar power plant is producing enough energy to run water treatment equipment at the Aeroject General Corporation site, cleaning up the groundwater that was polluted by industrial chemicals and pesticides as well as
So far, 102 billion gallons of water have been pumped out of the ground and processed in the water treatment plant. It takes a ton of energy to accomplish this part of the clean up, but in the hot, sunny Sacramento area, solar power is the perfect solution to lighten the footprint of the already problematic site. The installation was possible with help from the local utility, which put up $13 million of the $20 million cost of the installation, and the installer, Solar Power Inc, which fronted the cost of the first phase of the installation.
The solution is so inspiring, the EPA did a case study so that other sites can use the idea for their own clean-up efforts. They're hoping that any fears still harbored by the investment community on reclaiming contaminated sites will be put to rest, and more superfund sites can be used for renewable energy generation. After the solar array helps clean up the water, the energy generated can be put to other uses elsewhere on the site.
According to CleanTechnica, "In addition to the Aerojet project, EPA has established a solid track record of using solar power and other green remediation techniques, which are far less costly and can take far less time than traditional dig and dump cleanup methods. The agency's Re-Powering American Lands program has uncovered a potential gold mine of 14 million acres in cheap, available sites that could be used for new solar and wind power installations, and it has been targeting renewable energy projects that create new green jobs in local communities."
Who'd have thought that superfund sites could come to hold so much potential for clean energy.
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