A site that was originally a destination solely intended for the city of Austin's sewage waste has transformed over the years into what one engineer calls a "resource." And it's about to get a major upgrade that will be enjoyed by ducks, cranes, bald eagles and their non-feathered friends.

Today's Austin American-Statesman reports that a $35.8-million federal stimulus loan will allow the city's biosolids treatment plant to expand and add a methane-powered generator that could service some 750 homes. The facility, which doubles as a popular desitinatin for migratory birds and includes an observatory, will also see its capacity double for turning Austin's waste into nutrient-rich soil known as "Dillo Dirt."

Laugh if you must, but the stuff is extremely popular and considered a valuable commodity among my fellow Austin gardening friends and neighbors.

The Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant and Bird Observatory also houses an environmental research center. The upgrades to the facility are on a three-year schedule, and a follow-up project to build an electricity generator powered by methane gas is planned.

Now that's what I call "raw power."