Burnham RNG, City of Pasco Upgrading Wastewater Treatment Operations

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A new resource recovery center is set to aid agribusiness expansion, ensure clean water supply to farms, and transform waste into renewable natural gas.

Burnham RNG (Burnham) disclosed the issuance of green bonds in aid of constructing the Pasco Resource Recovery Center (PRRC), an advanced industrial wastewater treatment facility. The planned facility will purify wastewater for agricultural purposes and capture biogas for conversion into renewable natural gas (RNG). Jefferies LLC led the private placement of the bonds, which were issued by the Washington Economic Development Finance Authority and received a Baa3 rating from Moody's and a Green Bond label following an external review by Kestrel.

The endeavor symbolizes a 30-year public-private collaboration between Burnham and the City of Pasco. Under this partnership, Burnham will construct, own, and operate the PRRC on the City's behalf. The produced RNG will be sold under a long-term contract, enabling the City to curtail net treatment expenses and capitalize on current tax incentives for RNG projects, as outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act.

The PRRC is poised to bolster the City's thriving agribusiness sector while converting wastewater into clean energy. It will also supply clean water and nutrients for irrigation and fertilization on City-owned farms.

The project is being built under an EPC contract with Swinerton Builders, Inc., and will incorporate two Evoqua low-rate anaerobic digesters and an innovative nitrogen reduction system provided by Gross Wen Technologies. Cascade Natural Gas will purchase the RNG - a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process - under a long-term contract, with gas sale revenues serving to defray the project's cost.


The PRRC will facilitate the reuse of roughly 1.5 billion gallons of wastewater annually and is projected to generate sufficient RNG to cater to the needs of over 4,500 Washington State residential consumers each year with a clean, renewable source of natural gas. Construction, which has already begun, is slated for completion in late 2024.

The estimated construction expenditures for the PRRC, anticipated to exceed $200 million, will stimulate economic activity, support over 1,000 jobs, and contribute around $85 million in labor income across Washington state. Further economic stimulation is expected to emanate from project construction beyond Pasco, in the Tri-Cities and across the state. Once operational, the project is projected to sustain roughly 25 jobs.

City of Pasco Public Works Director Steve Worley lauded the PRRC as a significant investment in the future prosperity and sustainability of the region, citing benefits for community, job creation, and the potential to attract businesses with a focus on carbon-conscious operations.

Echoing these sentiments, Burnham CEO Chris Tynan emphasized the environmental and economic benefits of harnessing clean energy, water, and organic nutrients from wastewater. He cited the Pasco Resource Recovery Center as a prime example of how a public-private partnership structure can help municipal leaders manage risks and capture the benefits in the RNG sector without the need to invest in new commercial and operational capabilities.