Millbrae, Pacifica flaunt green facilities to Lantos

A handful of Peninsula cities making concerted efforts at becoming cleaner and greener — including converting restaurant grease into energy and banning Styrofoam — are not going unnoticed.

Both Millbrae and Pacifica are scheduled to show off their refurbished wastewater treatment plant facilities to Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, as the longtime local congressman tours environmentally efficient systems on the Peninsula today.

Calera Creek Water Recycling Plant in Pacifica and the Millbrae Wastewater Treatment Plant — both stops on Lantos’ Peninsula visit — are two projects in the county that have reduced emissions, waste or both. The tour is not open to the public.

“Lantos believes that the search for viable alternative and renewable energy sources should be a key national priority,” spokeswoman Lynne Weil said.

Calera Creek Water Recycling Plant, which treats 3.5 million gallons of sewage daily in an underground system, started operating last year with 1,800 solar panels. Pacifica Councilwoman Julie Lancelle has called the plant a point of pride for the city.

More recently, the facility, which has been credited with revitalizing city wetlands using treated runoff, will soon irrigate Sharp Park Golf Course, parks and fields with an estimated 50 million gallons of treated runoff annually. Plans are also under way for the city, following in the steps of Millbrae and Burlingame, to incorporate biodiesel fuel to power its treatment plant.

In Millbrae, work was completed last year on a biodiesel cogeneration plant in a joint undertaking between the city and Chevron Energy Solutions. The system uses gas produced from donated restaurant grease; the technology has increased the amount of green power generated at the plant by approximately 40 percent, Public Works Director Ron Popp said.

The system is one of a handful of efforts — including a ban on Styrofoam — to remove and limit environmentally damaging material within the city.

tramroop@examiner.com

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