Assessing the Opportunity and Barriers for Water Conservation by Private Industrial Users

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$11,243
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$36,453
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$45,337
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Recipient
Metropolitan Council/University of Minnesota - Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP)
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
Public College/University
Status
Completed
Start Date
January 2012
End Date
December 2013
Activity Type
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Counties Affected
Anoka
Carver
Dakota
Hennepin
Ramsey
Scott
Washington
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011 (Special Session) Chp. 6 Art. 2 Sec. 9
Appropriation Language

$500,000 the first year and $500,000 the second year are for implementation of the master water supply plan developed under Minnesota Statutes, section 473.1565.

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$11,243
Other Funds Leveraged
$0
Direct expenses
$11,243
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

The Metropolitan Council and MnTAP will identify opportunities for industrial water conservation as well as factors that motivate implementation of operational changes to capture water conservation savings. The Metropolitan Council will fill an existing knowledge gap in water conservation data in the metropolitan area.  Data gained from this project will be used in water supply planning projections for the metropolitan area.  Private industrial water users will receive site-specific water conservation recommendations.

Measurable Outcome(s)

We chose to investigate and engage about 16% of the applicable businesses based on our assessment of whether the business and industry sectors represented could be reasonably expected to have opportunities for water conservation through process improvements. The outreach method chosen was through email. This was seen as a contemporary and accessible way to reach the audience, but was ultimately found difficult due to lack of publicly available email addresses. However, once prepared, the outreach survey resulted in a good return rate of 39% (33 respondents). It found that factors that motivate implementation of operational changes to capture water conservation savings vary across industries, process needs, and the perceived value of the water resource. In many cases, the survey pointed to a lack of information, focus, or priorities concerning water. Companies have tried some initiatives aimed at water conservation, maybe have water conservation teams, plans, or projects, know what processes use the water, but don’t necessarily have any plans to reduce water use on that process. The anticipated project impact to identify use and opportunities didn’t seem to resonate with the survey respondents as either an opportunity for water and cost savings, or more generally as a call to action across the metro. Except in the seven cases where survey participation ultimately translated into assessment assistance, interaction with MnTAP beyond the survey was limited.Measureable OutcomesAccording to the survey results:

  • 42.5% of survey respondents have no water conservation initiatives
  • 45% of respondents measure water use on a facility-wide basis, as opposed to a process-by-process basis
  • Water permitting costs are not a constraint
  • Water supply treatment costs are a concern
  • Wastewater discharge regulations are a concern

From the seven anonymous one-day, on-site assessments:

  • Six assessment were performed at food-related facilties
  • One assessment was performed at a metal fabrication facility
  • Annual water savings of up to 71.9 million gallons were identified
  • This equals 2.6% of total 2010 industrial well water use in the eleven-county study area 

From the three summer intern projects:Gedney Foods, Chaska:

  • Total water savings of 6.4 million gallons per year identified (planned for implementation, or in testing)
  • Total salt savings of 1 million pounds per year identified
  • Total natural gas savings of 22,790 therms per year identified
  • Total savings = $115,230 per year

Northern Star - Michael Foods, Chaska

  • Total water savings of 30.6 million gallons per year identified (fully implemented)
  • Total savings = $132,000 per year

Federal Cartridge, Anoka

  • Total water savings of 7 million gallons per year identified (8 to 10% of total facility water use; implemented or awaiting installation or approval)
  • Total savings = $113,200 per year

ConclusionsMnTAP had an interesting exposure to a microcosm of specific well water needs in selected industries in the last two years. Our previous experiences are again reinforced with a number of conclusions coming from this project:Manufacturing process modifications can be very challenging, even with strong cost and efficiency justification. Changes can include production downtime, re-piping systems, recalibrating flow rates, re-assignments and other modifications to the currently productive and profitable facility layout and routine.There are in-situ and practical limits to knowing about water use- how much is used, where it goes, how much it costs per use. The cost of water is an industry overhead expense, and in many cases not scrutinized. Whatever water supply treatment needs that are necessary are part of that operating expense, to be maintained and operating at the risk of production curtailment or shutdown.MnTAP’s experience with this project has given us a renewed appreciation for, and focus on the pervasive implications and prominent opportunities surrounding water conservation. Program initiatives will continue to target water conservation education, project, and technical assistance outreach. We look forward to continuing our relationship with MCES and other water supply and treatment system operators around the state to work with their communities on meaningful and cost-effective water conservation.

Recipient Board Members
Susan Haigh (Chair), Roxanne Smith, Lona Schreiber, Jennifer Munt, Gary Van Eyll, Steve Elkins, James Brimeyer, Gary L. Cunningham, Adam Duininck, Edward Reynoso, John Doan, Sandy Rummel, Harry Melander, Richard Kramer, Jon Commers, Steven T. Chavez, Wendy Wulff
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011 (Special Session) Chp. 6 Art. 2 Sec. 9
Appropriation Language

$500,000 the first year and $500,000 the second year are for implementation of the master water supply plan developed under Minnesota Statutes, section 473.1565.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$36,453
Other Funds Leveraged
$0
Direct expenses
$36,453
Administration costs
$0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

See 2012 Fiscal Year Proposed Measurable Outcomes.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Outcomes will be reported at project completion.

Recipient Board Members
Susan Haigh (Chair), Roxanne Smith, Lona Schreiber, Jennifer Munt, Gary Van Eyll, Steve Elkins, James Brimeyer, Gary L. Cunningham, Adam Duininck, Edward Reynoso, John Doan, Sandy Rummel, Harry Melander, Richard Kramer, Jon Commers, Steven T. Chavez, Wendy Wulff
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011 (Special Session) Chp. 6 Art. 2 Sec. 9
Appropriation Language

$500,000 the first year and $500,000 the second year are for implementation of the master water supply plan developed under Minnesota Statutes, section 473.1565.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$45,337
Other Funds Leveraged
$0
Direct expenses
$45,337
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

See 2012 Fiscal Year Proposed Measurable Outcomes.

Measurable Outcome(s)

We chose to investigate and engage about 16% of the applicable businesses based on our assessment of whether the business and industry sectors represented could be reasonably expected to have opportunities for water conservation through process improvements.

The outreach method chosen was through email. This was seen as a contemporary and accessible way to reach the audience, but was ultimately found difficult due to lack of publicly available email addresses. However, once prepared, the outreach survey resulted in a good return rate of 39% (33 respondents). It found that factors that motivate implementation of operational changes to capture water conservation savings vary across industries, process needs, and the perceived value of the water resource.

In many cases, the survey pointed to a lack of information, focus, or priorities concerning water. Companies have tried some initiatives aimed at water conservation, maybe have water conservation teams, plans, or projects, know what processes use the water, but don’t necessarily have any plans to reduce water use on that process. The anticipated project impact to identify use and opportunities didn’t seem to resonate with the survey respondents as either an opportunity for water and cost savings, or more generally as a call to action across the metro. Except in the seven cases where survey participation ultimately translated into assessment assistance, interaction with MnTAP beyond the survey was limited.

Measureable Outcomes

According to the survey results:
•42.5% of survey respondents have no water conservation initiatives
•45% of respondents measure water use on a facility-wide basis, as opposed to a process-by-process basis
•Water permitting costs are not a constraint
•Water supply treatment costs are a concern
•Wastewater discharge regulations are a concern

From the seven anonymous one-day, on-site assessments:
•Six assessment were performed at food-related facilties
•One assessment was performed at a metal fabrication facility
•Annual water savings of up to 71.9 million gallons were identified
•This equals 2.6% of total 2010 industrial well water use in the eleven-county study area

From the three summer intern projects:

Gedney Foods, Chaska:
•Total water savings of 6.4 million gallons per year identified (planned for implementation, or in testing)
•Total salt savings of 1 million pounds per year identified
•Total natural gas savings of 22,790 therms per year identified
•Total savings = $115,230 per year

Northern Star - Michael Foods, Chaska
•Total water savings of 30.6 million gallons per year identified (fully implemented)
•Total savings = $132,000 per year

Federal Cartridge, Anoka
•Total water savings of 7 million gallons per year identified (8 to 10% of total facility water use; implemented or awaiting installation or approval)
•Total savings = $113,200 per year

Conclusions

MnTAP had an interesting exposure to a microcosm of specific well water needs in selected industries in the last two years. Our previous experiences are again reinforced with a number of conclusions coming from this project:

Manufacturing process modifications can be very challenging, even with strong cost and efficiency justification. Changes can include production downtime, re-piping systems, recalibrating flow rates, re-assignments and other modifications to the currently productive and profitable facility layout and routine.

There are in-situ and practical limits to knowing about water use- how much is used, where it goes, how much it costs per use. The cost of water is an industry overhead expense, and in many cases not scrutinized. Whatever water supply treatment needs that are necessary are part of that operating expense, to be maintained and operating at the risk of production curtailment or shutdown.

MnTAP’s experience with this project has given us a renewed appreciation for, and focus on the pervasive implications and prominent opportunities surrounding water conservation. Program initiatives will continue to target water conservation education, project, and technical assistance outreach. We look forward to continuing our relationship with MCES and other water supply and treatment system operators around the state to work with their communities on meaningful and cost-effective water conservation.

Recipient Board Members
Susan Haigh (Chair), Roxanne Smith, Lona Schreiber, Jennifer Munt, Gary Van Eyll, Steve Elkins, James Brimeyer, Gary L. Cunningham, Adam Duininck, Edward Reynoso, John Doan, Sandy Rummel, Harry Melander, Richard Kramer, Jon Commers, Steven T. Chavez, Wendy Wulff
Project Overview

Working with the Metropolitan Council, the University of Minnesota - Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) is investigating the opportunity for water conservation by private industrial water users across the Twin Cities metropolitan region. Private industrial water users are defined as industries that use private wells for their water supply. This work is determining factors that encourage or create barriers for implementation of identified industrial water conservation opportunities. Through this project the Metropolitan Council will gain ideas on common water conservation opportunities within a variety of industrial facilities, knowledge on water assessment protocol within an industrial facility, and a case study on water conservation resulting from a detailed MnTAP intern project investigation. The project includes a survey of private industrial water users to assess general trends in water use and conservation activities; onsite assessments with MnTAP engineering staff to directly identify water conservation opportunities in selected facilities; and an in-depth investigation of one facility through a MnTAP summer intern project.

Project Manager
First Name
Brian
Last Name
Davis
Organization Name
Metropolitan Council
Street Address
390 Robert Street North
City
Saint Paul
State
MN
Zip Code
55101
Phone
(651) 602-1519
Email
Brian.Davis@metc.state.mn.us