ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Rotting garbage is now helping heat water at the Metropolitan Detention Center in a projected touted as saving money and the environment.
Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry announced Thursday that the city has partnered with Bernalillo County to send methane gas produced at the Cerro Colorado Landfill to MDC.
All rotting garbage produces the gas, and until now, the city has had to burn it off.
Last December, construction started on a two-mile pipeline winding from the dump on the city's southwest mesa to MDC.
This gas will power the boilers at the county facility to heat water to use in showers and cleaning.
It will also save money in two ways: The city won't have to burn off as much methane gas, and the jail will save in electricity costs.
The project cost $1.5 million to complete with money being chipped in by the city, county and a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Right now this project is only using half the methane gas produced at the dump, so there is plenty of room for growth.
"The exciting part is we are at the very beginning of our gas generation," said Jill Holbert of the city's Solid Waste Management Department. "We should have gas generation increasing every year for almost the next hundred years, in which case there's potential future plans to start generating electricity."
The city picked MDC because of the location.
Berry said this project is equivalent of taking the emissions of 8,000 vehicles off the road. Part of the system pumping the methane is run by solar power.
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