February was a busy month for Altoona Water Authority’s Altoona Westerly Treatment Plant Biosolids Improvement project. On February 4th 2021, AWA closed and finalized the 36.6-Million Dollar PennVest loan prepared by Bassett Engineering for the Authority. This loan is to be used to fund the initial capital construction costs of the Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement (GESA) entered into with Energy Systems Group (ESG). The project aims to generate revenue by the acceptance of local high-strength waste, biogas generation/utilization, and increased biosolids quality due volume reduction and drying, all of which will offset costs throughout the life of the loan and well beyond.
Construction of the project started prior to full closing on the loan with PennVest approval, and has progressed rapidly. Upon receiving notice to proceed from the Altoona Water Authority, Energy Systems Group mobilized on site and started construction in September 2020. All subcontracts were executed for subcontractors and all major equipment is on order. The existing old abandoned in place concrete process tanks were demolished and backfilled. By late November both foundations for the anaerobic digesters were completed. Digester tank panels were erected in late January along with completion of the Digester control building foundation rebar work. Current work on the Digesters is paused as part of a winter shutdown by the subcontractor, but will begin again in the spring.