As part of the spring 2014 VPFP bond issue which closed May 21, 2014, the Frederick-Winchester Service Authority (FWSA) pursued a substantial capital improvement and green energy project at the Opequon Water Reclamation Facility. This project is a collaborative effort between the City of Winchester and Frederick County, which comprise the FWSA. The County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution dated December 11, 2013 to approve and consent to the project, and the City approved a similar resolution on October 15, 2013. The purpose of the project is to reduce energy use and operating costs at the Opequon facility while also enhancing revenue opportunities through the treatment of high strength waste ("HSW"). HSW related revenues are expected to be generated from nearby food processing facilities.
The VPFP loan of $30.11 million will address, in part, capital improvements that are included in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the Opequon facility. The CIP projects include the replacement of the aeration system, improvement and expansion of the plate and press dewatering process, replacement of the HVAC systems, and installation of standby power facilities. In an attempt to minimize the number of financial transactions going forward (and enhance the ability to reduce operating costs), the facility is accelerating a number of the CIP projects included within the requested VPFP loan proceeds. The remaining requested loan proceeds will help incorporate process changes and additions that will result in operational savings and a potential increase in operating revenues. Modified processes will include a more energy efficient sludge storage mixing system, automated chemical feed systems, and high energy efficiency lighting, heating, and cooling systems. The addition of a new anaerobic digestion system will allow the Opequon facility to receive HSW, sludge cake and other waste streams which will allow the facility to produce electricity and reduce chemical costs. Additional revenues also will be generated from the treatment of HSW.
All of these upgrades and improvements to the Opequon facility will result in significant savings to the taxpayers and customers that it serves. It is anticipated that the combined expenditure savings and new HSW revenues will equal nearly $60 million in the 20 years following the project's completion. These reductions include energy, chemical cost and landfill cost savings.
The Opequon green energy project is another great example of the VPFP's value to Virginia localities.