Anaerobic Digester Feasibility Study

The Town of Nantucket Sewer Department and Weston & Sampson are conducting a feasibility study to evaluate the potential for developing an organics-to-energy project at the Town-owned Surfside Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) through a grant provided by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). The study will provide a determination of the technological feasibility and economic viability of adding one or more anaerobic digesters to the WWTF. If found to be feasible, the addition of anaerobic digestion technology would provide the island with an alternative source of energy, thereby decreasing energy demands and costs, as well as providing volume reduction of source separated and WWTF waste, reducing demand on the island’s already limited landfill capacity.

Anaerobic digestion has been present in the United States for municipal solutions since the 1930’s, and there has been a renewed interest in the technology in the last decade as a reliable source of renewable energy. Anaerobic digestion, which utilizes biological treatment, converts materials traditionally thought of as waste, including organic materials such as sewage sludge, food scraps, and fats, oils, and grease into usable heat and electricity.

Feasibility Study Project Questions

What is this feasibility study?

In the fall of 2019, the Town of Nantucket received a $60,000 Organics-to-Energy grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to investigate the feasibility of installing anaerobic digestion technology on the island. The Sewer Department, in collaboration with Weston & Sampson and other town departments, including the Health Department, Public Works, and the Energy Office, has begun this exploratory process aimed to quantify the benefits and identify any challenges in bringing anaerobic digestion technology to Nantucket. Nantucket’s feasibility study will seek to identify and quantify sources of organic material and financial benefits, as well as possible design constraints.

What is the projected schedule/timeframe for the Project?

  • Initial Public Meeting: February 3, 2020
  • Second Public Meeting: July 30, 2020
  • Public Comments Due By: August 13, 2020
  • Draft Feasibility Study Report: August 30, 2020
  • Final Feasibility Study Report: October 30, 2020


Where is the proposed site for the Anaerobic Digestor?

The project is to be constructed at the existing Surfside Wastewater Treatment Facility located at 81 S Shore Road, Nantucket, MA. The addition of a digester and organics handling facility would not significantly change the character or property nor substantially increase the footprint of the treatment area. An exact siting of any Anaerobic Digester would be determined in a design phase.

Surrounding land uses include forest or otherwise open land, residential, and beach property. Much of the area adjacent to the property is owned by the town. For those on the residential land that is privately owned, there will be little to no discernable change in the site. There will be some temporary, increased traffic during the construction phase, though that traffic will not route through the neighborhoods directly.

More Information

This feasibility study is being partially funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)’s Organics-to-Energy Program. To see completed studies in other communities or to learn more about the program, please visit their website:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides many resources for learning more about Anaerobic Digestion. Please visit their website to learn more:

Contact Us

  1. For direct feedback on this study, you may contact:

    Gina Cortese
    Weston & Sampson

    Ph: 978-532-1900 ext. 2243

Public Presentations