Sterling Natural Resource Center

Sterling Natural Resource Center rendering displaying enhancements to the water treatment facility and the administrative side where the community center will be located.

Working to “Make Every Source a Resource” and striving toward a more sustainable future, East Valley Water District (EVWD) Board of Directors approved the addition of state-of-the-art co-digester technology at the Sterling Natural Resource Center (SNRC) during the Sept. 11 board meeting.

This enhancement represents a significant improvement to the project by allowing the SNRC to produce enough renewable electricity to meet the facility’s energy needs, with additional electricity transferred onto the energy grid.

Using an advanced co-digestion process, the SNRC will give unwanted food waste collected by local waste companies a new purpose. Digesters will combine high-grade food waste with the material left behind during the treatment of wastewater to produce 3 megawatts of electricity. This is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power about 1,950 homes.

“The incorporation of digester technology at the SNRC further supports the project’s vision of sustainability and the responsible use of resources,” said Chris Carrillo, EVWD chairman. “It ensures the facility reduces its carbon footprint while creating a new water supply for the community.”

To purchase the necessary apparatus that will provide long-term operational benefits and enhance the SNRC’s efficiency, the district will invest $32.6 million toward the project. A portion of this cost will be covered by State and Southern California Edison programs that provide funding for projects that create energy. The facility’s overall guaranteed maximum price is $182.6 million with funding being provided by State grants, low-interest loans, and development fees.

To accommodate the construction of digesters and provide enough space for this technology, the water treatment side of the facility will take on a slightly more industrial look. Modern architectural elements will be added to enhance the look as much as possible. The administrative side where the demonstration garden is set to be located will still maintain a scenic, welcoming layout.

“The addition of digester technology represents a valuable investment toward the long-term operations of the SNRC and an opportunity to make a positive impact beyond the facility’s walls,” said John Mura, EVWD general manager and CEO. “We’re fortunate to have a strong team consisting of Balfour Beatty, Arcadia U.S., Inc. and Ruhnau Clarke Architects. Now we’re happy to bring Anaergia to help achieve the great expectations that we have for this project.”

Beyond wastewater treatment, the SNRC will provide many benefits to the local community in form of educational opportunities for local students and residents, community space, and neighborhood improvements.

Recently, the SNRC was awarded with a $1.49 million Urban Greening Grant from the California Natural Resources Agency for the construction of a community demonstration garden. Additionally, the SNRC has also secured $6.7 million in State grants and $150 million in low-interest loans from California’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

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