FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — For those who have travelled from Fort Wayne to Indianapolis on Interstate 69, one of the most notable landmarks of the trip is the Nestlé bunny sign alongside the interstate.
The sign is for the company’s Anderson plant, which produces coffee creamer and other food products.
However, the factory also has a hand in providing byproducts that allow Fort Wayne City Utilities to generate power to help clean Fort Wayne’s three rivers, and Fort Wayne City Council recently approved final passage of a project that officials say will make the project even more efficient.
Nestlé and other companies ship byproducts to Fort Wayne City Utilities, which uses the byproducts to feed microorganisms that produce methane gas, said Doug Fasick, CEM, chief sustainability officer for the City of Fort Wayne.
Fort Wayne City Utilities then uses the gas to power the process that helps clean the city’s three rivers.
The process produces enough biogas to power one-third of what is needed to power generators that help clean the water, and since Fort Wayne City Utilities started using the microorganisms in 2015, the process has helped the City of Fort Wayne save over $3 million.
The new piping would not only allow City Utilities to produce more gas, but it would save more money in the process and maintain the health of the microorganisms.
“They’re an animal [and] they need to have a healthy environment to live in and [be] consistently fed with the product, so this will help us be able to do that,” Fasick said.
The process not only helps Fort Wayne City Utilities, but it also helps Nestlé and other companies by giving them an alternative other than shipping waste byproducts to landfills.
“It’s a renewable recycling [option] of the product itself instead of just putting it in a landfill,” Fasick said.
On Sept. 5, Michael Kiester, manager of City Utilities Engineering, spoke at the Fort Wayne City Council meeting and said the project would be completed in early 2024.
The project to install new piping will cost $480,750.