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Sewer heat recovery

Learn how King County is confronting climate impacts through heat energy reuse.

Hot water goes down drains to connected sewer pipes every day and the water in these pipes maintains a fairly constant temperature as it travels from homes and businesses to treatment plants. Heat energy from the water in these pipes is a renewable resource that isn’t being used.

The Wastewater Treatment Division is the first in Washington state and one of the first wastewater utilities in the nation to offer sewer heat recovery (SHR). Private commercial property owners and developers can recover heat energy from our sewer pipes for heating or cooling their buildings. SHR technology is fairly common in Europe and parts of Canada, but standardized SHR use agreements are pioneering in the United States.

By taking a holistic approach to partnering with businesses to address the impacts of climate change, this program is just one way King County is reimagining resilient and sustainable communities.