Woonsocket Thermal Conversion Facility

The Challenges of Biosolids Management in the Northeast

Biosolids management options in the Northeast are declining due to state regulatory requirements, population density, lack of agricultural options, and harsh weather conditions. The most common choices are landfill disposal or individual processing facilities.

To address the challenges facing the region, Synagro proposed to the City of Woonsocket the design, build, finance, and operation of an efficient regional processing facility that would effectively process biosolids from Woonsocket and various communities across the Northeast. Through a regional approach, Synagro realized economies of scale allowing municipalities to access a processing facility in a cost-effective manner.

Defining the Best Solution for Operations and Environmental Priorities

When this project began in 1988, Synagro updated an existing multiple hearth furnace combustor to handle the biosolids from Woonsocket and 40 other generators. The Synagro Woonsocket Facility was the first facility in the United States to employ a wet electrostatic precipitator on a biosolids combustion system. This break-through innovation is considered by the U.S. EPA to be the best available control technology for biosolids combustion units.

In 2007, Synagro further upgraded the facility to a fluidized bed combustion process to handle up to 105 dry tons of biosolids per day. This upgrade maximized fuel efficiency and minimized emissions while increasing capacity. The Woonsocket facility now includes five dewatering centrifuges, permitting 50 area cities to send either liquid or cake forms of biosolids.

Synagro also provides a logistics and trucking operation for a complete biosolids management program that is both cost-effective and reliable.

Applying Sustainable Organic Solutions for the Best Results

Synagro helps Woonsocket and other biosolids generators in the surrounding area by effectively operating and maintaining the solids-handling portion of the plant and applying expertise from almost 25 years of operations and maintenance experience at facilities across the U.S.

Currently, Synagro is pursuing the addition of a waste heat recovery system and power generator to generate up to two megawatts (MW) of clean and renewable electricity. If implemented, this renewable
energy component would provide all of the electricity needed for the facility and the adjacent wastewater treatment plant.

Tangible Results for Northeast Communities

Synagro’s biosolids management services at the Woonsocket Thermal Conversion Facility have resulted in:

  • A sustainable and reliable biosolids management outlet for 50 area generators
  • Private funding for technology upgrades
  • Reduction in carbon footprint through lower emissions and fuel efficiency
  • Employment of 48 local residents

Synagro supports and sponsors local programs and fundraising initiatives. These include programs such as Autumn Fest, the River Island Ice Rink, WaterFire Providence displays, and various local food banks. Additionally, senior staff members of the Woonsocket facility are actively involved with several community organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Woonsocket.

Synagro’s Woonsocket Thermal Conversion Facility provides a sustainable and reliable biosolids management outlet for 50 area generators