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Overview of the Metro Digester Project

Onondaga County’s Department of Water Environment Protection owns and operates six Wastewater Treatment Facilities. The largest is the Metropolitan Syracuse Wastewater Treatment Plant (Metro) which provides high quality treatment for 270,000 people and many industrial and commercial customers in the City of Syracuse and some areas outside the city in Onondaga County. Metro is permitted to treat an average of 84 million gallons of wastewater per day and has a total hydraulic capacity of 240 million gallons per day during wet-weather events such as rainstorms.

WEP's Metro facility utilizes anaerobic digestion as part of its biosolids management. Anaerobic digestion is a process through which bacteria break down organic matter without oxygen. A byproduct of digestion is biogas which is made mostly of methane, the primary component of natural gas. Digestion also plays an important role in pathogen destruction.

Metro is equipped with three primary digesters and one secondary digester that were constructed in 1959. Metro is currently undergoing a $20 million Digester Improvement Project. The project includes upgrading and rehabilitating all major digestion equipment, upgrading the secondary digester to increase biogas production, installing a new cover on the secondary digester, and installation of new biogas storage. Maximizing biogas production and storage is beneficial as it provides an opportunity for energy conservation. WEP was awarded a NYS DEC Climate Smart Communities grant in the amount of $1.3 million for the process upgrades that allow for better utilization of biogas to heat and power portions of the facility.

A major component of this project was completed on October 31st - the installation of the new secondary digester cover. The new cover weighs approximately 175,000 pounds and is 100 feet in diameter. It was constructed on the ground adjacent to the digester. With exceptional planning and coordination the cover was lifted utilizing a 600 ton crane and successfully installed atop the digester.




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