City to Use Sewer Water to Heat and Cool Aquatic Centre

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The city is taking a unique approach to heating and cooling the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre.

Council has approved a pilot project which will convert wastewater from the sewer line on Riverside Dr. to a usable energy source saving the city as much as $200,000 a year.

Toronto based company Noventa will be covering the entire $10-million to $14-million cost of the project.

CEO Dennis Fotinos says wastewater is a great heating and cooling source as it usually runs between 18 and 22-degrees Celsius.

"We're taping into sanitary sewers that are well below the frost line. So when you're getting 20-degree Celsius heat from the sewer, you're only heating your house to 22 in the winter and you only really cool your house to 21 or 22 in the summer. So you're almost there with just the energy from the sewage and that's what we're doing."

He says this is just the beginning.

"You can scale this up multiple times across different sewers. Think about providing heating to some of the factories, think about providing air conditioning to commercial office towers, the casino. The benefits start getting very big very quick and the savings are substantial."

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Noventa CEO Dennis Fotinos seen at a Windsor Council meeting on October 7, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

Fotinos says there's environmental benefits as well.

"The heat energy that's right below our feet and is free, if we can take that heat out and use it to heat buildings then why burn natural gas? This is just a matter of getting that heat out of the sewer and as long as people take showers, poop, wash dishes and keep putting that hot water in the sewer it's going to be there all the time."

Fotinos says, once completed, this will be the largest wastewater energy transfer project in the world surpassing one in use in Helsinki, Finland.

Construction is expected to begin in March of next year with a goal of being fully operational by December.