Orem City's wastewater treatment plant is now generating - from waste materials that it treats - about one-third of the electrical power required to operate the plant.

Methane gas, a natural product of the wastewater treatment process, is being collected and utilized to operate a 150-kilowatt generator driven by a gas engine. This cogeneration facility saves more than $100 per day in plant operating costs, said Keith Scott, supervisor.In addition, the cogeneration facility recovers heat from the generator's exhaust and utilizes it inside the plant for ongoing operations.

The cogeneration facility, designed by Rollins, Brown and Gunnell Inc., a Provo-based engineering firm, cost the city about $342,000 for equipment and construction. With an annual net savings projected at more than $41,000, the facility should pay for itself in about 8.3 years, according to engineers' figures.