Our role to protect public health and the environment goes beyond cleaning wastewater. The Metropolitan Council works to minimize our environmental impact by operating the regional wastewater system in a sustainable way. Our practices demonstrate how other organizations can effectively build environmental stewardship into their operational approaches.
To advance sustainability in our operations, Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES):
- Manages energy use
- Conserves and reuses water
- Reduces, reuses, and recycles solid waste and recovers nutrients from biosolids
- Advances sustainable landscapes and green stormwater practices
- Plans for climate change impacts and reduces our carbon emissions
Energy management and climate change
Energy use is a major expense for MCES – costing approximately $15 million per year. It is also our leading source of carbon emissions. Managing our energy use helps us keep costs to rate payers fair and reasonable and reduces our contribution to climate change.
We manage our energy use and costs by: 1) Pursuing energy efficiency in our treatment processes and buildings, 2) Investing in renewable energy resources, and 3) Recovering energy from our treatment processes.
Energy efficiency in treatment processes and buildings
MCES continuously pursues opportunities for improved energy efficiency as we design, select and install energy efficient technologies and equipment; optimize performance; and conduct proactive maintenance.
Investing in renewable energy resources
MCES supports the use of renewable energy in the region by hosting solar energy projects on Met Council-owned property and subscribing to Community Solar Gardens. We are working toward purchasing 100% of our electricity from renewable energy sources – like wind and solar – by 2040.
Energy recovery from wastewater treatment
Wastewater treatment is a rich energy source – from the heat coming off raw and treated wastewater to the stored energy in biosolids. We recognize the benefit of recovering and converting these energy resources to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel energy resources and the associated carbon pollution.
Some examples of how MCES is recovering energy from wastewater treatment include: