WE&T Magazine

Dec. 09 Cover90Water Environment & Technology (WE&T) is the premier magazine for the water quality field. WE&T provides information on what professionals demand: cutting-edge technologies, innovative solutions, operations and maintenance, regulatory and legislative impacts, and professional development.


December 2009, Vol. 21, No.12


The conference featured 122 technical sessions, 31 workshops, nine facility tours, and several high-profile events. Popular sessions and workshops included in-depth topics such as private sewer system management, innovative applications of the small-scale use of reclaimed water, water infrastructure investment (see story, p. 22), recent developments in membrane bioreactor technology, and improved energy efficiency for wastewater treatment plants and processes.

At the Oct. 12 Opening General Session, keynote presenter Dr. Mike Magee gave an insightful presentation about the nexus between access to potable water and public health. Referencing his book, Healthy Waters: What Every Health Professional Should Know About Water, Magee highlighted the facts and figures about water and its enormous impact on quality of life and public health. (To view his speech, see www.weftec.org.) Other opening session highlights included remarks from 2008–2009 WEF President Rebecca West, recognition of two of WEF’s most prestigious awards, and the introduction of the 2009 Stockholm Junior Water Prize winners.

On Oct. 13, West ceremoniously "passed the gavel" of Federation leadership to incoming President Paul Freedman and inducted the 2009–2010 WEF Officers and Board of Trustees. The ceremony culminated with the remaining awards presentations in recognition of the outstanding achievements of the most talented and dedicated professionals in the water quality community. In all, more than 25 awards were presented at various events during the conference.

Other conference highlights included a successful community service project organized by WEF’s Students and Young Professionals Committee (see story, p. 30); the 2009 WEF Student Design Competition (see story, p. 33); the AAEE/AIDIS/WEF Breakfast (see story, below), the AEESP/WEF Lecture and Scientists’ Luncheon (see story, p. 32); and the 2009 Operations Challenge Competition (see story, p. 60).

WEFTEC 2010 is scheduled for October 2–6, 2010, in New Orleans. More than 700 companies have already reserved more than 90% of floor space at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Visit www.weftec.org for more details.


BNR Pioneer Examines Future Challenges, Developments

At WEFTEC.09, the man who developed biological nutrient removal shared the trends he sees developing in the wastewater treatment industry as well as the drivers that will propel innovation and research into the future. James L. Barnard, global practice leader for wastewater treatment at Black & Veatch (Overland Park, Kan.), delivered the keynote address at the Oct. 12 American Academy of Environmental Engineers/Inter-American Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering/Water Environment Federation (AAEE/AIDIS/WEF) Breakfast.

Barnard listed several challenges for water quality professionals, including managing population growth, preventing and reversing eutrophication, managing the energy associated with wastewater treatment, and recovering resources.

In looking at these issues and the likely solutions that they will inspire, Barnard said, "I’ve tried to do this with my feet on the ground, not taking flights of fancy."

Population Growth
According to Barnard, the main challenge facing the wastewater world will soon be the number of feet walking the world. He listed population growth as the main issue that will drive innovation.

"When I started in this work, there were 3 billion people on the face of the Earth and there are now 6 billion," Barnard said. "You can see what that pressure has done already and why it was only in the last 30 years that we’ve started seeing so many problems."

Moreover, since populations are becoming increasingly concentrated in urban areas, sanitation becomes all the more important. "It’s estimated that by 2035, 60% of the world’s population — which by that time will be more than 10 billion people — will be living in cities," Barnard said.

Eutrophication and Nutrient Removal
More people compacted in less area will mean higher potential effects on nearby waters. It follows that eutrophication also will drive innovations and technology, Barnard said.

Barnard presented an aerial photo of a reservoir near Johannesburg, South Africa, with complete algae coverage. The water’s surface showed a network of crisscrossing lines, indicating the trails left through the algae by passing boats, he said.

"The Johannesburg Process is used everywhere but Johannesburg," he said referring to the biological combined nitrogen and phosphorus removal process.

While combating eutrophication is essential, he cautioned that nutrient removal needs to be done carefully and with forethought. Reducing nitrogen concentrations to 2.5 mg/L is typically seen as the lower boundary of what’s achievable economically. "Otherwise, it starts getting very expensive," Barnard said.

He added "we need to look at what the organic nitrogen that is remaining is. How can it be removed? What does it do? We don’t really understand that fully."

On the phosphorus side, 0.06 mg/L is readily achievable without too many chemicals, but to reach 0.01 mg/L — as some permits are requiring — requires a large increase in chemicals, Barnard said.

The overall question becomes, "Should we apply strict nutrient limits when the impact is negligible and there is evidence that it might hurt the receiving water?" Barnard asked.

This question is especially relevant today because there is a move to include nitrogen and phosphorus removal as part of all secondary treatment systems, he said. Often the goal is to minimize nitrogen as much as possible, but creating an imbalance can have detrimental side effects.

For example, in inland lakes an abundance of phosphorus without sufficient nitrogen can lead to blue–green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, Barnard said.

To illustrate this point, he used the example of the Upper Occoquan Sewage Authority in Virginia. The plant had an ammonia limit of 1.0 mg/L and initially used ion-exchange columns to remove ammonia. When that process failed, the plant switched to nitrification, and soon discovered that adding nitrates to the lake that receives its effluent was improving the quality of the lake, Barnard said.

The effluent was already low in phosphate, but other phosphorus was entering the lake through diffuse sources. "If you don’t have the right nitrogen ratio, you start growing these cyanobacteria, blue–green algae, and when you put more nitrogen in, you grow green algae," Barnard said.

There is a debate about whether to spend $100 million to remove nitrates from this wastewater, but right now this plant is operating to put nitrates into the lake to limit the cyanobacteria, he said.


Energy Savings
Operating a biological nutrient removal systems requires a tremendous amount of electricity, right? Not really, according to Barnard.

While as much as 5% of all energy is used in the water cycle, most of that is used for heating water, Barnard said. Wastewater treatment doesn’t deserve a reputation as an energy hog, quite the opposite.

When it comes to the energy consumed for biological treatment, a well-run and efficient wastewater treatment plant uses about 40 kWh per person per year, he said. To put that in perspective, switching one household lamp to a low-power bulb saves about 102 kWh per year.

Resource Recovery
Even after keeping energy use under control, there are many opportunities for resource recovery from wastewater, Barnard said. Beginning with reclaimed water for potable reuse and extending through nutrient recovery, wastewater contains many of the products needed to support the world’s growing populations.

Barnard said the industry should be working toward recovering phosphorus from the activated sludge process.

"We have limited resources of phosphorus in the world, and we are fast using that up in an unsustainable manner," Barnard said. Some estimates predict that we will run out of phosphorus in less than 100 years, he said.

That demand brings a renewed interest in biological phosphorus removal as opposed to chemical removal. Even though reaching extremely low phosphorus levels in water, such as 0.01 mg/L, will require chemical treatment, biological treatment can start the process, limiting chemical use and recovering a useful product.

The wastewater industry also should be looking toward separating waste streams to mine their nutrients, Barnard said. Separating urine and extracting nitrogen and phosphorus from it could make for a reasonable alternative, he said.

"It’s really easy to make struvite from urine, Barnard said.

As for the infrastructure needed, homes in Sweden already have liquid–solid separating toilets with two pipes leading from their homes, and this technology could easily be adopted in new developments, he said. Such a system also would require two waste pipes leading away from the house, which is why new developments make an ideal target.

Once geological reserves are exhausted, increasing energy costs to fix atmospheric nitrogen — about 20 kWh per kg — and a growing world population is likely to make urine separation much more acceptable, he said.

The Future of Activated Sludge
So, will the activated sludge process still be around in 30, 50, and 100 years?

"Very likely," Barnard said.

For controlling treatment plant footprint — a matter of growing importance — membrane bioreactors and media addition systems enable maximum treatment in small footprints, he said. Additionally, with new membrane materials, costs will fall, he added.

Or, he suggested, activated sludge might exist in other forms such as the anammox process — a biological process in which nitrite and ammonium are converted directly into nitrogen gas; the name is an abbreviation of anaerobic ammonium oxidation — or a granular activated sludge — which relies on heavy particles of bacteria that settle without using a separate settling tank.

Moreover, Barnard said, biological treatment enables high removal of ammonia with a minimum release of greenhouse gases, facilitates good removal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products, enables nutrient recovery, and supports water reuse with the application of membranes.

Steve Spicer, WE&T

Financing the Future

Financing the Future

WEFTEC.09 panelists debate over the best ways to invest in water and wastewater infrastructure

Thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, nearly $4 billion was appropriated forthe Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) and $2 billion for the Drinking Water SRF this year, providing a badly needed financial boost to water and wastewater infrastructure. But even with this influx of funding, water and wastewater utilities still have a revenue shortfall that looms larger the further these utilities peer into the future.

The populations they serve will continue to increase while revenues from customers are gradually declining. The industry anticipates new stormwater discharge and nutrient removal regulations and an increase in enforcement, but many utilities argue that the funds needed to meet these mandates are not available.

At the Oct. 13 technical session "The Future for Water Infrastructure Investment, Beyond the Stimulus Package," several speakers shared how the industry can raise funds to address these challenges. Some advocated the creation of a water trust fund. Others said the industry should be almost entirely reliant on full-cost pricing. Some pushed for a water infrastructure bank, while others said the federal government should fund infrastructure more directly, much as it did during the 1970s after the enactment of the Clean Water Act.

Janice Poling, senior analyst of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), shared the findings of a May GAO report issued to the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure committee. The report examined the possible creation of a $10 billion Clean Water Trust Fund.

Poling said GAO analysts spoke with more than 50 experts and contacted 28 national organizations involved with water and wastewater infrastructure to gather ideas. GAO then evaluated the ways in which the trust fund could be funded. The methods include 

    • an excise tax on wastestream products such as beverages, fertilizers, and pesticides; 
    • a corporate tax; 
    • a water use tax; or 
    • an industrial discharge tax conducted by imposing a fee on National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits or a tax on toxic releases from industrial facilities.  

But each tax poses challenges.

For example, "implementation of the excise tax would be a challenge because of the clear and precise definitions of the products and activities that are needed by the IRS [U.S. Internal Revenue Service]," Poling said.

An industrial discharge tax also would be difficult because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have reliable data on either NPDES permits or toxic releases.

When questioned by an audience member, Poling also conceded that even if a trust fund were created, there is no way to ensure the industry would have access to all the trust fund monies.

"Congress has the power of the purse," Poling said. "It is not a pot of money that can be used for a particular purpose. If Congress wants to designate it for something else, it can."

Kurt Vause, director of the engineering division for Anchorage (Alaska) Water and Wastewater Utility, discussed the creation of a federal water infrastructure bank. Vause said that Congress tried in 2007 and 2008 to pass legislation that would have created a national infrastructure bank, but both bills failed.

Vause said during this Congress, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D–Conn.) submitted a bill that would create a bank for all infrastructure sectors, but so far the bill has few details on how the bank would work. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D–Conn.) has plans to introduce a bill also, he said.

Vause discussed some of the benefits of creating a federal water infrastructure bank rather than a general infrastructure bank. Such a bank could provide direct loans or loan guarantees to projects larger than $75 million. The interest rates would be at or below the U.S. Treasury bond rates and communities would therefore save between 10% and 20%, he said. The bank could also purchase or guarantee SRF bonds issued by the states. This would lower the SRF interest rates, he said.

But the creation of a water infrastructure bank would pose some challenges, Vause admitted. The current federal financing bank rate would have to be amended to allow the bank to purchase securities at rates lower than Treasury bond rate. Tax exemption would be required on guaranteed loans. Finally, the government would have to establish what borrowing limits should be imposed.

Rather than bother with securing more federal dollars, water and wastewater utilities should simply raise rates and pursue full-cost pricing, argued G. Tracy Mehan III, a principal of The Cadmus Group Inc. (Watertown, Mass.)

According to a 2002 GAO report, Mehan said, American households paid between 0.5% and 0.6% of annual household income on water and sewer fees.

"Even if you raised rates to full costs, it would still be below 1% total household income," Mehan said. "…The middle class should have to pay their part."

He said many utilities are still too reliant on federal grants and loans that came at the beginning of the Clean Water Act.

"The federal government should have a role," Mehan said. But that role should be in helping to subsidize poor people who cannot afford the full cost of water, and investing in research and development of new water and wastewater technology and management practices, he said.

"A subsidized wastewater system is not a sustainable one," Mehan said.

But Ken Kirk, executive director of National Association of Clean Water Agencies (Washington, D.C.), disagreed and said though full-cost pricing is a laudable goal, because of the issues of practicality and equitability, federal funding is still needed.

Kirk said utilities are now faced with "more to do, less time to come under compliance and they have less money to work with ... EPA will tell you that if we don’t deal with the problem, we will revert to the levels of pollution that we have not seen since 1972."

Kirk argued that "it’s time we stood behind the public sector. We need to sustain local–state–federal partnerships."

LaShell Stratton–Childers, WE&T


Leveling Up the Workshop Format

As an alternative to the many hands-on and onsite formats offered at WEFTEC.09, one of the 31 workshops offered participants the chance to play a game.

The Oct. 11 workshop "Membrane Bioreactor Life-Cycle Assessment Simulation: Digital Game-Based Learning," took its lead from video game simulators most often associated with flying an airplane, playing the stock market, or waging war. The entire concept itself was an experiment, according to Dan Kinnear from HDR Inc. (Omaha, Neb.), who led the workshop.

"It’s funny how video games were once thought of as everyone wasting their time, but now they’re moving more into how you can do some valuable things," Kinnear said. "Besides that, it’s a lot more fun than sitting around listening to people talk."

Attendees of the workshop, which was co-chaired by Marie-Laure Pellegrin of HDR and Ingmar Nopens from Ghent University (Belgium), were split into two teams. Each team was presented with the same information and goals. During the course of the day, participants collaborated with their team members and used simulator software to design, build, and operate a membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment plant for 20 years, with the goal of minimizing the life-cycle cost.

System Architecture
At the beginning of the day, Pellegrin told participants, "All of the work is going to be done by you." The objective was to learn through doing. However, the workshop did provide 14 facilitators to help teams through various tasks. Each team had two modelers to help with navigating the software programs to build their designs. Other facilitators served as speakers at "Mini WEFTEC," which was an opportunity for the teams to send a few representatives to learn about nutrient removal, membrane bioreactors, activated sludge, and finance. Still others worked to input the data the teams generated into the digital game software and give them feedback.

Armed with a preliminary engineering report, teams were asked to balance capital, labor, operations, energy, chemical, and solids disposal costs along with nutrient discharges and greenhouse gas emissions. The teams also had to account for penalties that would be incurred if they didn’t fully meet the needs set forth in the engineering reports.

"The goal was to get the lowest life-cycle cost out of your unit," Kinnear said.


Beta Testing
At the beginning of the workshop, Pellegrin said, "We’re not sure if it’s going to work or not, but we’ll find out by the end of the day. It’s a new concept. Nobody — at least at WEFTEC — has done this."

The challenge came in making the simulation complex enough to challenge the participants and simple enough to accomplish in a single day. The creators’ original intent was to include randomly determined elements into the game, Kinnear said. He added that he tried to make the game simple from the start, but every reviewer found all of the parts too complex except for the one concerning his or her specialty — that section was always too simple.

The participants might be overwhelmed with the task presented to them, Pellegrin said. However, that feeling was intentional and important.

"By pressuring them with time, they’re going to learn quicker and they’ll get more of it — that’s what we’re hoping," she said.

The game mimicked the design process that must happen in the real world, Pellegrin said. The designers were given flow projections and discharge limits and then had to extrapolate those into how things will change in the future.

Game-based learning is an especially useful tool for seeing how complex systems react to changes made by users, Kinnear said. Even though it’s a game, "it’s a serious game, and people will see how different decision processes that go into designing a membrane bioreactor and operating a membrane bioreactor will affect the whole life-cycle cost."


Parallel Results
At the end of the day, Kinnear revealed that Team 1 had won the competition by minimizing its facility’s life-cycle costs, which were measured by calculating a net present worth for each treatment plant. However, the competition was almost too close to call. The difference in the net present worth for the two treatment approaches, which wound up being substantially different, after simulated operations of 20 years, equaled less than 1%.

Interestingly, both teams chose to remove more nutrients than required by their initial permits and to sell those nutrient credits in a cap-and-trade market that was built into the game. This move enabled the teams to earn some revenue to recoup capital costs more quickly.

"I’m surprised that they came out so close; I thought there’d be bigger differences," Kinnear said.

Version 2.0?
Kinnear said that the facilitators learned a lot from the workshop this year and they are hoping to bring the concept back.

"It’s hard to understand what each team is going to think, so it’s hard to prepare for all of the permutations and different design ideas that come out, and we certainly have to adjust quite a bit to that," he said.

"We hope to do it year after year with a different design problem," Kinnear said. Using the same framework, participants could be asked to tackle building and operating a stormwater or biosolids facility, for example.

Steve Spicer, WE&T



Students and Young Professionals Make a Splash at WEFTEC.09

Participants revitalize treatment wetlands for community service project


Approximately 70 volunteers gathered on Oct. 10, a bright, hot day in Orlando, Fla., to roll up their sleeves, put on boots, and wade out into a wetland for this year’s Students & Young Professionals Committee (SYPC) community service project, "Wading for Wetlands." The group helped to restore an area of wetlands at the Orange County Utilities Northwest Water Reclamation Facility, according to Dianne Crilley, WEF senior manager of Member Association services.

"The staff at the wastewater facility had already harvested the two species of plants that we were planting. Our job was basically to put them in the appropriate places and plant them within the wetland cell they had already drained," said Haley Falconer, SYPC community service project chair. Facility staff were on hand to provide safety information, tutorials on how to plant and where to plant, and supplies including boots, shovels, gloves, and water.

"We were able to plant very quickly," Falconer said. The volunteers worked so quickly that they ran out of preharvested plants, so a group of volunteers helped facility staff members harvest more to transplant.

"The project went very well even though it was very hot and humid," on the 35°C (95°F) day, said Shane Benner, the facility’s section manager. Even though most of the volunteers were not used to the heat, they continued to work, he added. "There were a few that were having so much fun we couldn’t get them to stop."

The facility’s wetlands are approximately 28 ha (70 ac), divided into six individual cells, explained Benner. Reclaimed water is added to one cell and works its way through this and two other cells over 27 days.

Each wetland cell contains several plant species including giant bulrush, club rush, duck potato, fire flag, cordgrass, soft rush, maidencane, and water lily, Benner said. "These vegetative species were installed to enhance the diversity of the microbial population, which provides for nutrient uptake," he explained. "So although the treatment plant provides high-quality reclaimed water, extending the process through these wetlands further polishes the reclaimed water by removing nitrogen."

The cell that the SYPC volunteers helped replant has seen detrimental effects of insects and diseases "similar to a natural wetland," Benner said. "The volunteers planted nearly 1000 plants over a 7-ac [3-ha] area," Benner said. "By this time next year, these plants will reach a height of 6 ft and will significantly enhance the performance of this wetlands cell."

The wetland was created by engineers and scientists of PBS&J (Tampa, Fla.) and began operation in January 2005. Volunteers received a 20-min. tour of the wetlands by a PBS&J wetland biologist who discussed how the plants filter water and how to tell if the wetlands are functioning properly, Falconer said.

"Because we had mostly university students, we were able to use this as an opportunity to educate the students on something they might not see since wetlands are so prominent in Florida," Falconer said. "It was a way for students who are going to be young engineers to see a different side of treatment facilities." The tour was the educational component the SYPC tries to include in their service projects. "It was something we could see at the end of the day that … we really did have an impact on this plant and what they can achieve as far as treatment goes," she said.

The project was sponsored by Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services (Grand Forks, N.D.), Black & Veatch (Overland Park, Kan.), Brown and Caldwell (Walnut Creek, Calif.), CDM (Cambridge, Mass.), CH2M Hill (Englewood, Colo.), Chesapeake Water Environment Association (Sparks, Md.), and Stantec (Edmonton, Alberta).

In addition to promoting environmental stewardship and leaving a positive imprint on the WEFTEC host city, the SYPC service projects are "a way to attract and retain the students and young professionals," Falconer said. After volunteers participate, they often ask how they can play a larger role in either the SYPC specifically or WEF as a whole. "[The projects have] been really very well received," Falconer said. For WEFTEC.08 in Chicago, volunteers constructed a rain garden at Pulaski Park as a part of the SYPC project "Getting Out of the Gutter."

"Our big goal for next year … is to have some significant community involvement," in New Orleans, Falconer said. The SYPC would like to showcase the value of wastewater treatment and the profession by involving the local community. Anyone with ideas for the next project or an interest in helping the committee should contact Falconer at haleyfalconer@gmail.com.

Jennifer Fulcher, WE&T


Finding A Happy Medium

Can humans positively interact with ecosystems?

With water scarcity becoming a growing global problem, humanity often has to weigh its water needs against the needs of surrounding ecosystems. But neither has to be the winner or loser in this contest, argued Thomas L. Crisman, Patel Professor of Environment at the University of South Florida (Tampa) and keynote speaker at the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors/Water Environment Federation Scientists’ luncheon, held Oct. 12 at WEFTEC.09 in Orlando, Fla.

"People are part of ecology," Crisman said, and need not be in competition with it.

Crisman argued during his keynote speech that societies have to start examining how people interact with ecosystems and realize how much of an ecosystem is natural and how much is the result of human influence. He said also we must consider how humans can help revitalize ecosystems that are damaged.

"I once asked my students if there was such a thing as a pristine wetland," Crisman said. "They tried to think of one, but the answer is no. There are no pristine wetlands left on Earth because they are all interconnected by atmosphere."

Crisman came to these conclusions after a 30-year career, part of which involved research in the emerging discipline of ecohydrology, which integrates hydrology with the ecological requirements of ecosystems, communities, and species for water.

"We’re trying to find out how to equitably distribute water throughout the world," Crisman said.

Part of this means determining how little water a system needs to maintain itself; when the system needs this amount of water annually; and how long the system can maintain this level.

His research led him to examine how agriculture interacts with ecosystems in tropical regions of Africa, South and Central America, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and even the Everglades in Florida. During his speech, Crisman gave examples of how agriculture can become a valuable conservation technique for water and ecosystem management.

"Agriculture is not the enemy," he said.

For example, the world’s largest wetland, located in Pantanal, Brazil, is privately owned by families who have been using parts of the land for agriculture for generations, Crisman said. The families recently began to generate revenue by opening Pantanal to ecotourist vacations.

"Scientists come in, spend money, and do bird watching," Crisman said. "It encourages families to keep the land within the family and to keep it within agriculture."

Crisman also cited as an example a small village in Greece, where wetlands had been drained decades ago to rid the area of malaria and locals had converted them to wheat fields. The farmers invested nearly $100,000 to convert the agricultural terrain back to wetlands, and since then, the area has grown as an ecotourism site. Another example is the Amansuri people of Western Ghana, who are trying to conserve their local wetlands. They use ecotourism as a way to make money and improve the socioeconomic standing of their community.

Money can play an integral part in wetland conservation, Crisman said. We have to put economic incentives in place to encourage populations in these remote regions to sustain their wetlands, he said. Without incentives, there is little reason for them to keep trying, especially when some face abject poverty and in some cases, the possibility of starvation, on a daily basis.

"They have different ideas of sustainability than the West," Crisman said. "For them, it means survival."

LaShell Stratton–Childers, WE&T


Student Teams Shine at Design Competition

Student teams from across the country stepped up to the podium Oct. 11 to present their real-world design solutions in the eighth 2009 WEF Student Design Competition. The competition, a program of the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF’s; Alexandria, Va.) Students & Young Professionals Committee, was held at WEFTEC®.09 in Orlando, Fla.

The annual event offers design experience for students interested in pursuing an education or career in water and wastewater engineering and sciences. WEF Member Associations (MAs) each selected their best student chapter design team to participate.

This year’s competition was the largest to date, according to Dianne Crilley, WEF senior manager of MA services. "We had a total of 11 teams participate this year. We expect much more for next year," she said. "The enthusiasm continues to grow."

The competition featured the newly added environmental design category for contemporary engineering projects such as sustainability, water reuse, and wetland construction. Two teams entered this category, while the remaining nine entered the wastewater design category for traditional design projects such as hydraulics, capacity design, system upgrades, and biosolids handling.

Teams had 20 minutes to present their projects to an audience of 130 and a panel of seven judges, according to Crilley. Sponsors included MWH (Broomfield, Colo.), Black & Veatch (Overland Park, Kan.), CDM (Cambridge, Mass.), CH2M Hill (Englewood, Colo.), Greeley and Hansen (Chicago), Malcolm Pirnie (White Plains, N.Y.), and Parsons Water & Infrastructure (Pasadena, Calif.).

The University of Florida (Gainesville) team won first place in environmental design for its project, "Green Infrastructure and LID [Low-Impact Development] Design for a Florida-Constructed Environs Subject to Rainfall-Runoff Loadings." The project examined reclaimed water shortages that resulted from less wastewater produced during academic breaks at the university, according to a design competition information packet.

Reclaimed water is used for irrigation and cogeneration in the area. The team’s design proposes conveying stormwater using gravity flow to the water reclamation facility and integrating a tertiary absorptive filtration system to address reclaimed water demands and reduce stormwater loads to receiving waters. During the past 10 years, the University of Florida design team has won first place in four out of the eight competitions at WEFTEC.

The University of Colorado–Boulder team won first place in wastewater design for its project, "Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility: South Complex Secondary Treatment Upgrade." The project looked at reducing the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in wastewater at the Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility (Denver) to meet regulations beginning in 2023, according to the information packet.

The team determined that using a biological aerated filter and high-rate flocculation system was the most appropriate solution for the facility, and detailed the relevant cost and timeline data for the project. This was the first year the University of Colorado–Boulder competed at WEFTEC.

The two first-place teams each received certificates and were awarded $2500. For more information about the competition, see www.wef.org/PublicInformation/page.aspx?id=136.


Jennifer Fulcher, WE&T




WEFTEC.09 Publications Contest Winner

Congratulations to Karen Harrison, associate and wastewater practice leader for Jordan, Jones & Goulding (Norcross, Ga.), who won a Garmin nüvi global positioning system for visiting the WEF Publications Booth and solving our puzzle.

"WEFTEC is where I learn about the latest developments in technology, and this year I am very excited about some of the new equipment I saw on the exhibit floor," Harrison said. "I also got a lot out of the technical sessions, particularly the Sunday workshop on LOT [limit of technology] nutrient removal. I’m already looking forward to New Orleans!"


© 2009 Water Environment Federation. All rights reserved.