United Utilities has awarded a £75m contract to Black & Veatch for the upgrade of wastewater treament works serving 1.2m people in Manchester.
Davyhulme, one of the UK's largest wastewater treatment works, will become a source of renewable energy through the generation of electricity from biogas.
Improvements will double sludge treatment capacity and process biosolids to such a high standard that they have the potential to be reused as fertiliser. The project will also produce biogas sufficient to generate electricity for running the new treatment process and for feeding into the National Grid.
Pete Robinson, United Utilities programme manager, said, "Sludge treatment is a 24-hour process, so there is a continuous supply of biogas. It is a very valuable resource and it is completely renewable. By harnessing this energy we can reduce our fuel bills and reduce our carbon footprint."
The contract is planned to begin in early 2010 with initial operation in autumn 2011 and completion in late 2012.
Davyhulme has been in operation since 1894 and serves a population equivalent of 1.2 million in and around the city of Manchester.