Interview with Rebecca Singer, King County
Rebecca Singer, Manager Resource Recovery, Department of Natural Resources at King County, Seattle shares insights about the future-focused utility’s successes in water resource recovery, and the future of sustainable water supply.
Can you tell us a bit more about King County’s approach to resource recovery and how it has evolved over the past few years?
King County’s approach to resource recovery is ever evolving, taking on more challenges each year that will provide the best value for our products while continually optimizing our operations. The program began with the Clean Water Act and the separation of solids from the waste stream. Beginning in 1973, King County’s biosolids program was the first resource recovery unit within our division and is one of the longest running biosolids programs in the U.S. By the late 1990s, King County began recycling water. First for internal processes but quickly expanding to external uses for irrigation at local soccer fields and golf courses. In recent years the recycled water program has expanded to include agricultural irrigation. Following recycled water, resource recovery began exploring ways to conserve energy and in recent years have begun capturing our biogas for the sale of RINs. Through these sales, our energy program has brought in enough revenue to fund 10 capital improvement projects that will further our energy savings.
What areas of innovative nutrient recovery are of most interest to you?
Any recovery that has low energy demand with high market value.
What do you see as the future of water resource recovery?
Water resource recovery will be a necessity in the future. With hotter temperatures, lower stream flows and stressed aquifers, we will need to examine how and why we use the water we use. Being able to provide a valuable resource of sustainable water will be of great value to the utilities that treat the water, and the community with which they serve.
And finally, if you had to summarize the industry in three words, what would they be?
Resilient climate-friendly future.
Rebecca Singer will be speaking at World Water-Tech North America on a panel discussing Building the Business Case for Resource Recovery on Thursday October 25 at 12:00 p.m. alongside Jeff Guild, Vice President, BlueTech Research and Eileen O’Neill, Executive Director, Water Environment Federation.