August 2013, Vol. 25, No.8

Water, wastewater, and stormwater agencies respond to extreme weather events  

Case studies on community response, lessons learned, and resiliency in the future 

extreme weather art Lauren Fillmore, Nancy Beller-Simms, Karen Metchis, and Kenan Ozekin
The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF; Alexandria, Va.), and the Water Research Foundation (Denver), joined forces with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to document the experiences of water service agencies dealing with extreme weather events in six areas across the U.S. As the project moved forward, research organizations Concurrent Technologies Corp. (Arlington, Va.) and Noblis (Falls Church, Va.) also joined this effort. Local water service agency representatives shared their experiences, and researchers synthesized their collective knowledge and identified the lessons learned that would help other water service agencies increase their resilience to future extreme weather.  Read full article (login required). 


What will it cost?

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency updates tool to quantify utility-level costs and public health and local economic effects of adverse events 

what will it cost art Curt Baranowski, John DeGour, Dan Schmelling, Lisa McFadden, and Dan Basoli

Improving the security and resilience of U.S. drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure is vital to ensuring the provision of clean and safe water. Disruption of operations during and following natural disaster or man-made adverse events can cause severe public health, environmental, and economic impacts. 

To support water-sector efforts to strengthen resiliency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has collaborated with its water-sector partners to update the Water Health and Economic Analysis Tool (WHEAT). 

WHEAT is designed to assist water-sector owners and operators in quantifying the utility-level costs, public health impacts, and local economic impacts of an adverse event. It is cause-neutral, meaning it estimates the impacts due to a user-specified disruption in utility services, regardless of the initial cause of the disruption.  Read full article (login required).  


Finding the right source and supply  

Averting catastrophe 

source and supply art Amanda Spalding, Phil Clark, and Donnie Underhill

It was 2 a.m. one morning in March 1999. Jim Bruce, general manager at Hardin County (Ky.) Water District No. 1, drove through the night to the Prichard Pump Station, located on the U.S. military base at Fort Knox, Ky. Upon arriving, he quickly unlocked the gate and the door to the pump station. As he opened the door and heard the hum of the pump motors, he breathed a sigh of relief. The sound of the pumps meant that his customers and surrounding communities still had potable water. 

From late winter and throughout the summer of 1999, a combination of bizarre, coincidental events required Bruce to make this type of trip several times and put the district in a situation in which no water utility wants to be — completely dependent on an auxiliary source of water. Summer 1999 wasn’t the first time the district sought new sources of water nor would it be the last. Read full article (login required). 


Fishing River expansion  

Kansas City’s “distraction-free” charrette design approach shaves 6 months off design process 

fishing river art Richard Parmeter and Jeff Keller

When a city undertakes a wastewater treatment plant expansion, it expects considerable backand- forth communication with its design team. 

It typically goes like this: The engineer completes a portion of the design. The city reviews the work and offers feedback. The process then repeats itself until the design is complete. Between each step, time passes as the parties juggle the expansion project with their other day-to-day work responsibilities. 

But what if a city and its consultant could streamline the back-and forth discussions by bringing together their most knowledgeable staff and creating opportunities for design decisions to be made over the course of minutes and hours, rather than days and weeks? Read full article (login required) 


Operations Forum Features

From manual to automatic at Spring Creek 

How designers and operators teamed up to smooth the transition 

Spring Creek art Adrianne Eilers

When the time came for the Springfield (Ill.) Metro Sanitary District to replace the water resource recovery facility (WRRF) located on Spring Creek, staff members faced a leap into the future. The original Spring Creek facility had served the community for 84 years. To achieve a similar return on investment from a new facility would require the most advanced equipment, processes, and technology. 

Converting a manually operated facility to a fully automated one posed a significant transition for the district’s staff, but despite the growing pains, the changes were made more manageable through close collaboration between the designers and district staff so that operational and maintenance needs could influence the decision-making process and be incorporated into plans. Read full article (login required)    


Biomass power 

New Zealand facilities find a culturally sensitive solution in biological trickling filters as the sole means of wastewater treatment 

biomass art Garry Macdonald, Nicholas Berry, Caroline Crosby, Paul Dunford, and Johan Ehlers
In 1999, the Napier City Council (NCC) faced the prospect that all of its wastewater had to be treated to a level equivalent to “advanced primary treatment” by July 2005 and that domestic and “nonseparated” industrial wastes had to receive secondary biological treatment by July 2015. In addition, while the existing method of treatment and disposal was not having an adverse effect on the environment, cultural and social issues required a higher treatment standard. New Zealand’s indigenous people, the Maori, have a strong cultural aversion to discharge of human waste in any form to fresh or marine waters. Read full article (login required) 


Greening the Bronx 

Green infrastructure for combined sewer overflow control 

Bronx art Virginia Roach, Magdi Farag, Margot Walker, and Walid Harrouch

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has set a goal for the New York City Green Infrastructure Plan to manage the first 25 mm (1 in.) of stormwater runoff from at least 10% of the impervious surfaces in combined sewer areas of the city to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs). This plan is in accordance with the city’s recently amended consent agreement with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 

The Edenwald Houses site in the Bronx offered a great opportunity to utilize city-owned property for achieving the city’s stormwater management goal, as well as to enhance an aging public housing area. The Department of Environmental Protection, the New York City Housing Authority, CDM Smith (Cambridge, Mass.), and URS Corp. (San Francisco) jointly developed a facilities plan and design for the Edenwald Houses site, incorporating various types of green infrastructure designs to maximize stormwater capture, reuse, and flow attenuation to ultimately reduce CSOs. The project design is complete and was advertised for construction this summer. Read full article (login required)