The South Davis Sewer District has applied for a $250,000 state grant to turn methane gas the district plants produce into electricity.

Dal Wayment, district manager, said the grant could help the district buy electric generators to burn methane gas produced during the treatment of sewage.During the treatment process, solid wastes are separated from wastewater and placed in an airless "digester." The byproduct of the process is the gas that can be directly burned in specially designed engines.

The co-generation project could save $50,000 of the $120,000 now spent yearly for electricity, Wayment said.

The grant application, submitted earlier this month, is being considered by the Utah Energy Office of the Division of Natural Resources. The office administers funds collected by the state from oil and gas companies for overcharging.

"They have earmarked $2 million for use by the `citizenry at large.' It is a matching grant, and projects with more cost benefit have a higher multiplier," Wayment said.

If the grant is received, the district board has pledged its support to spend $250,000 to match the grant.

The co-generation system is used by larger sewer districts in the state including the North Davis Sewer District. Wayment said such a system had been considered before at the district's two plants, but has never been built because it was not cost-effective.

Now, because of an expansion project, such a system would break even.

"We have nothing to lose by applying," he said.

The district serves Bountiful, West Bountiful, North Salt Lake, Centerville and other unincorporated parts of south Davis County.