Driving Wastewater Treatment Energy Efficiency

Audrey Partridge, Carl Nelson

Why This Research Is Needed
Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) operate in over 600 communities in Minnesota and use a substantial amount of energy. This project is an extension of a Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources and U.S. Department of Energy-funded research project completed by the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) at the University of Minnesota, which focused on the most effective ways to conserve energy in Minnesota’s WWTPs. MnTAP will take learnings from their previous research and create a curriculum for WWTP managers, resulting in a cohort model for program delivery. This program will help plant managers across the state implement energy management best practices in their facilities.

Project Process and Expected Outcomes
The project will generate training modules on tools and techniques that can be used by WWTP operators to assess energy use, efficiency, and support operators as they implement energy saving measures. Modules for training will include the recently launched Minnesota B3 for Wastewater Treatment. This project is being led by MnTAP – CEE is playing a supporting role and will take the lead on the development of a model utility-based program. 

This project is supported by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources through the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) program, which is funded by Minnesota ratepayers. CEE is a subcontractor to MnTAP on this project.'

Image Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program via CC

Project Info

2018 – June 2019


To develop a curriculum for WWTP managers in energy efficiency, to create a cohort model for program delivery, and to provide a mechanism for training energy management best practices at wastewater treatment plants across Minnesota. 

Non-Energy Benefits

Costs are reduced and opperations are improved.

Utility Implementation

CEE’s role is to aid in determining if this project can become a utility-funded program capable of helping utilities (particularly the municipal utilities where many of these systems are located) to cost-effectively reach their CIP goals. 


MnTAP will develop a curriculum for Minnesota Wastewater Treatment Plant managers to explore energy savings measures and best practices which, with CEE’s help, will be translated to a proposed utility program.

MnTAP (project lead)