Austin Water broke ground on green improvements at its Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant, with $31.8 million from ARRA.

In two years, the city of Austin’s water utility expects total carbon reduction to be about 6,500 tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases per year. Austin Water received 80% of the funding through the Texas Water Development Board’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

The improvements include doubling composting capacity, decreasing off-site land application and reducing 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel consumption annually by 2012. Significant upgrades are designed to improve efficiency of biosolids processing and increase biogas production. Generators will convert the biogas to electricity and send up to 1.75 MW of electricity a year to Austin Energy’s grid.

Hornsby Bend treats all biosolids produced by Austin’s wastewater treatment plants.