Wastewater treatment facilities can account for up to 30% of a municipality’s energy use. Plants that set energy efficiency as a strategic priority can increase resilience, while significantly reducing energy use and increasing cost savings.

Resilience is the ability for a treatment system to prepare for, cope with, recover from, and adapt to a range of climate-related threats. Often, resilience focuses on the physical infrastructure and how this infrastructure can respond to a variety of threats, such as loss of power generation and availability, preparing for extreme rainfall and/or flooding events, or digital threats. However, resilience also relates to a variety of threats through staff training and engagement, ongoing plant monitoring, maintenance, and improvements to plant infrastructure or equipment. Ongoing plant maintenance and monitoring, along with improvements to infrastructure, is where energy efficiency fits into resilience. It is a long-term process that balances risks and resources to achieve plant resilience.

It is critical to not only maintain water treatment infrastructure during power outages, but also to make sure facilities are using energy efficiently across all aspects of the treatment process. Making plant improvements that improve plant performance and reduce energy use will likely create a more resilient facility to weather future disruptions and recover more swiftly from unprecedented events.