June 2024

June 2024

Inside the Newsletter:

2023 IMPACT | Wastewater | Metro Water | Food Processing | Intern Symposium | Salt Symposium

MnTAP IMPACT for Minnesota!

MnTAP was again honored with the opportunity to work throughout Minnesota by providing source reduction technical assistance for businesses and organizations. Whether supporting 17 MnTAP Intern Projects, providing needed services to 442 organizations, working with numerous student researchers, or directly supporting businesses through 75 site visits, we are pleased to collaborate with our partners to improve environmental and economic outcomes throughout the State. The results of our work for 2023 are summarized in the 2023 MnTAP IMPACT annual report.

Highlights of MnTAP’s 2023 efforts include:

  • 53 facilities implemented recommendations
  • 75 recommended process changes saved:
    • 14 million gallons of water
    • 2.1 million pounds of waste
    • 13.8 million kWh of electric energy
    • 506,600 therms of fuel energy
    • $2 million first-year savings.

Additional Activities Included:

  • 94 wastewater ponds were assessed, and operators were trained on strategies to optimize nutrient levels
  • Implemented 3.5 million gallons of annual water reduction in greater Minnesota and 9.4 million gallons of water reduction in the Metropolitan Council service area.
  • Implemented 19 recommendations at 10 wastewater facilities in Minnesota to achieve 985,200 kWh and $82,400 in annual savings.

Providing Technical Assistance for All Minnesota

MnTAP continues to provide onsite technical assistance for pollution prevention, energy efficiency and water conservation to organizations across the entire state of Minnesota. For the five-year period from 2019 through 2023, MnTAP provided technical assistance for over 1,500 facilities. The economic impact of the implemented waste, water and energy source reduction projects totaled $6.6 million in first-year savings.

In addition to our intentional effort to reach out across the entire state, MnTAP supports the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s commitment to “ensuring that pollution does not have a disproportionate impact on any group of people.”  In 2023, MnTAP conducted technical assistance activities at 59 facilities located in Minnesota areas of environmental justice concern as defined by the MPCA. MnTAP will act on our commitment to provide pollution prevention technical assistance in environmental justice communities by responding quickly to requests for assistance, seeking outreach opportunities and promoting project activities with the potential to positively impact those areas’ environmental outcomes.

Wastewater Cohort Energy Efficiency Training Program

MnTAP is using a previously developed cohort training curriculum to offer operator training focused on identifying and implementing low and no cost improvements that reduce energy consumption at WWTPs without sacrificing plant effectiveness at meeting discharge limits. The target audience for this training program are lead wastewater treatment plant operators at municipal mechanical treatment WWTPs processing up to 10 MGD.

Several common recommendations have been identified as opportunities for energy use reduction at facilities participating in the training program. The first is to reduce aeration operations to match system requirements. Over-aeration does not improve treatment and uses a lot of energy. The second is to reduce mixing to match system requirements. For wastewater facilities looking for energy savings, optimizing these two areas is a great place to start.

Program Year Identified (kWh) Identified Cost Savings ($) Implemented (kWh) Implemented Cost Savings ($)
2023 1,958,000 $139,300 985,200 $82,400
All Years 7,308,200 $570,450 3,480,000 $270,400

What they said…

When asked about useful aspects of the course going forward:

  • “…I feel I have a pretty good grasp of where we use energy and whether or not we can do anything about it.”
  • “…learning what to look for as we get into our plant upgrade.”
  • “…being able to see potential savings.”

To learn more about this project, check out our project page

Jon Vanyo – MnTAP Senior Engineer

Turning Down Flow in The Metro

Water conservation recommendation potential for the seven metro interns assigned to sites in 2023 totaled 29.7 million gallons of water and carried a cost savings opportunity of $760,000 from 39 recommended actions. By the end of the year, 11 recommendations from the Intern Program had been implemented and saved 9.44 million gallons of water and $791,000 per year.

Water efficiency projects often carry co-benefits when implemented because it is often heated and conditioned prior to process use. Recommendations made by the 2023 interns included over 50,800 therms of natural gas energy reduction when fully implemented. While the cost of water is generally low, the cost savings from additional chemical or energy reduction associated with water efficiency can help economically justify project investment that may be needed for implementation.

If this sounds like a program that might be a good fit for your company reach out to Gabrielle Martin. The project is currently seeking host companies for water conservation projects for our Summer 2025 Internship Program within the Twin Cities Metro.

Gabrielle Martin – MnTAP Engineer

BMPs for MN Food and Beverage Industries

The food processing industry is an essential component of Minnesota’s economy and accounts for almost 25% of the total shipments by Minnesotan manufacturers in 2020. Within the food and beverage industry, dairy manufacturing, animal and meat processing, and beverage manufacturing comprise almost 600 Minnesota businesses. Within the food and beverage industry, almost 600 Minnesotan businesses specialize in dairy manufacturing, animal and meat processing and beverage manufacturing.

This project focuses on providing direct technical assistance for food processing industries in Minnesota to prevent pollution; optimize wastewater quality, water conservation, and energy use; reduce industry environmental impacts; and maintain strong and optimize wastewater quality, water conservation, and energy use to reduce industry environmental impacts and maintain strong businesses within the state.

In 2023, MnTAP was able to help Minnesota food processors and beverage manufacturers save 5.1 million gallons of water and $176,000 on an annual basis. The project is currently seeking host companies for water conservation projects for our Summer 2025 Internship Program within the Twin Cities Metro.

Kevin Philpy – Senior Engineer

Save the Date! 2024 MnTAP Intern Symposium

The MnTAP Team invites you to attend the 2024 MnTAP Intern Symposium scheduled for Wednesday August 14th, 2024 from 1:00 – 5:00 pm CDT. This event is open to the public and will also be streamed live from the Symposium venue at McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota. Register now and get this fun, informative event on your calendar!

MnTAP is proud to host 14 interns at companies throughout the state this summer. Projects begin this May for the 2024 MnTAP Intern Program cohort and span the following industries: food processing, filtration technology, aerospace and more. By the end of August, these interns will have worked closely with their host companies to evaluate opportunities, recommend solutions, and as time allows, implement those solutions! The outputs of their work will result in using materials more efficiently, reducing waste, decreasing use of hazardous materials, increasing energy efficiency, and saving water. This will be an inspiring event that you do not want to miss!


More info on this summer’s projects will arrive in our July newsletter

2024 Salt Symposium – Livestream – August 6-7, 2024

You’re invited to the 25th Annual Salt Symposium! The Salt Symposium celebrates the optimization of salt use to improve community sustainability and protect vital freshwater systems and infrastructure. Free MPCA Smart Salting training included!

More Information