Don't let the painfully boring photo1 of the Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant fool you—exciting things are happening in Bridesburg. The Philadelphia Water Department has hired Ameresco Inc. to design, build and maintain a biogas-burning cogeneration plant at the Northeast facility. It's estimated that the energy produced from the biogas (a natural byproduct of sewage treatment) will save $12 million over the course of the 16-year contract. And, yes, people are talking about it:

Philadelphia Inquirer:

"The $47.5 million project will generate 5.6 megawatts of electricity and thermal energy for use at the treatment plant. Michael T. Bakas, Ameresco's senior vice president, said the project is sized based upon projections about how much biogas is produced from the decomposition of sewage in the plant's digesters."

Philadelphia Business Journal:

"The contract calls for Ameresco (NYSE:AMRC), which is based in Framingham, Mass., to pay the cost of the project up front and get reimbursed over time from the savings on energy costs that the facility produces for the Water Department."

Yahoo! Finance:

“'This project is an example of PWD’s commitment to develop waste recovery programs at all of our facilities as part of our pledge to be a sustainable and cost-conscious utility,'” remarked Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug. 'Recovering the hidden fuel in our wastewater treatment processes helps to diversify our energy portfolio, while improving the environment through innovative, green technology. The Northeast Cogeneration facility demonstrates PWD's national leadership in transforming the traditional wastewater plant into the resource recovery facility of the future.'”

Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production:

"The project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by nearly 22,000 tonnes per year, which equates to the removal of 4,833 cars off the road or the planting of 5,390 acres of pine forest."

1Really, guys? I mean, we didn't expect beauty, but the PWD photography corps couldn't at least get a picture of the front of the plant?