May 14, 2024 - News

Poop is a $6M moneymaker for Des Moines

Illustration of a golden, sparkling pile of poop.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

We always knew our stank did't stink, but now it also earns us an annual $6M!

Catch up fast: Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority (WRA) in 2020 completed a project to capture and clean biogasses produced from sewer treatment.

  • They were previously burned off with a large flare.

Driving the news: The gross annual revenue from gas sales is above the early projected estimates of $5M.

  • The earnings help offset the regional utility's expenses.

Yes, but: The $20 million system isn't currently working at full capacity because of equipment issues so the flare has still been used recently, WRA director Scott Hutchens tells Axios.

  • That'll change in the next month or so after some repairs, he said.

🚽 The bottom line: Our browns make gold.

Editor's note: This article first appeared in Axios Des Moines.

A photo of a gas flare.
These flares at the Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority will again go on hiatus in coming weeks. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios
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