Cocoa Beach entered an administrative order with the state in 2008, setting a compliance schedule for meeting new nitrogen and phosphorus limits and major plant upgrades.

Upgrades are expected to be finished by Jan. 1, but so far the new plant has exceeded the city’s expectations in terms of reducing nitrogen.

The plant churns out reclaimed water with 1.8 milligrams per liter of nitrogen, compared with the old plant’s 7 to 12 milligrams.

Sludge has potential as a fuel source in power plants and cement kilns, or it can be heated in a process that creates a synthetic gas that could be used to operate portions of the sewer plant.