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The awards and accolades have been flowing since Hamilton’s water operations returned to public hands in 2005.

The most recent award is for the city’s cogeneration facility, which captures methane gas - a byproduct of the sewage treatment process - and turns it into energy.

The project, housed at the city’s Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant, recently won an award for environmental leadership and innovation from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

The city says the plant is one of the largest-scale in Canada, and will reduce Hamilton’s greenhouse gas emissions by about 130,000 tonnes over the next 20 years.
It’s the second award this year for the city-owned Hamilton Renewable Power Incorporated. Earlier this year, the project won a Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment award for greenhouse gas reduction. Environment Canada has profiled the cogeneration plant as a pollution prevention success story.

The project came online in September 2006 and is making financial sense for the city.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities also singled out the project with a certificate of recognition in 2007.

The praise doesn’t stop there. The water and wastewater division’s new environmental laboratory won an architectural award in late 2007. The facility, where the city’s water is tested and wastewater operations are monitored, is the first LEED-certified lab in Ontario and the second in Canada.

The awards are the latest in a string of good news for Hamilton’s water and wastewater plant since it’s returned to public hands. The latest annual review shows that in-house operation of water and wastewater has saved nearly $4.5 million and is improving water quality in the harbour for the third year in a row.