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Avon project uses heat from sewer treatment plant to warm rec center pool

Scott N. Miller
Vail Correspondent
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Scott N. Miller smiller@vaildaily.com
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AVON, Colorado – In the very definition of “neat trick,” heated wastewater from Avon’s wastewater treatment center is being used to heat the pool in the recreation center, without the, uh, used water ever touching the pool.

That neat trick took a mixture of political will, engineering ingenuity and about $4.5 million.

The new system, called the Avon Heat Recovery Project, was officially unveiled Tuesday at the recreation center.



The project’s genesis came in 2007, when the town created a “climate action plan” that had a goal of cutting the town’s carbon footprint by using more alternative energy. That plan ran headlong into another 2007 town plan for a “main street” area that would include some heated pedestrian areas.

The Avon Town Council almost immediately rejected an idea to use natural gas-fired boilers to run that system, which led the town to look into other sources of heat.



The eventual answer was to use heated wastewater, pumps and heat exchangers to provide heat for the pool in the recreation center.

The resulting project is unique in the state, said Greg Winkler of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, which provided a $1.5 million grant for the project.

While the current system will cut the heating bills for the pool by 30 to 40 percent, it can also be expanded to include sidewalks and heat for Avon’s town hall in the future.

David Parry, senior vice president of Camp Dresser and McKee, the engineering company for the project, said the system has a few key advantages over geothermal systems, which drill deep to find heated water.

“This is right at the surface,” Parry said. “That cuts your costs. It also cools the discharge into the river.”

Mayor Rich Carroll said the project shows the “power of creative thinking.”

“It addresses a traditional need with environmentally sustainable methods.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.


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