Covington Water District (CWD), a public utility district providing water to over 50,000 residents of South King County, has been awarded a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce to install an energy-generating turbine as part of a new water connection from the regional water main.

McKinstry, a design-build firm specializing in energy-efficiency retrofits, is partnering with CWD to design and install the turbine.

“We have invested in high-quality, reliable infrastructure for many years,” said Thomas Keown, general manager at Covington Water District. “This grant is exciting because it allows us to be one of the first public utilities in the state—and join a group of progressive utilities nationwide—to also invest in this innovative technology.”

The turbine will be located near CWD’s administrative building, and the electricity will be transmitted directly into the building’s power system. It will generate roughly 70 percent of the building’s annual energy consumption, reducing operating costs for the non-profit public utility district. It also adds an extra layer of energy resiliency for the water district’s infrastructure.

The turbine will be installed in a new line tapped from the Regional Water Supply System partnership CWD has with Tacoma Water. Traditionally, a new tap includes a pressure-reducing valve to transition water from the high-pressure main down to lower-pressure residential lines. In this case, the turbine will reduce the water pressure while also generating energy. McKinstry will also verify the system’s performance and guarantee the energy savings.

“Covington Water District is at the leading edge of water innovation,” said Mark Jonson, vice president for McKinstry. “By thinking ahead now, they are laying the groundwork for a resilient and reliable water system that will last for generations.”

“We strive to think outside the box in order to provide value to our customers,” said Keown. “This project is good for our customers, our public infrastructure and our environment.”

The project is currently in final design, and construction on the project is slated to begin this fall and wrap in the spring of 2018. The turbine is manufactured by Deming, Wash.-based Canyon Hydro.