March 2012, Vol. 24, No.3


Excavation of a 34-m-deep (110-ft-deep) entrance shaft signals the beginning of work on an underground tunnel and pipeline for effluent from the Mill Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Shawnee, Kan. The new discharge line will carry as much as 681,000 m3/d (180 mgd) of effluent by gravity nearly 3.2 km (2 mi) to a point downstream of a water intake on the Kansas River. The plant, which is owned and operated by Johnson County (Kan.) Wastewater, currently pumps an average of 38,000 m3/d (10 mgd) to the same discharge location. But the new tunnel and pipeline, designed by Black & Veatch (Kansas City, Mo.), was necessary because the existing pumping station and force main do not have the capacity to pump extreme wet weather flows. The tunnel will eliminate the risk of untreated wastewater flows into nearby Mill Creek and the Kansas River that periodically result with heavy rains.

When completed in late 2013, the tunnel will reduce the county’s carbon footprint and operating costs by eliminating the current need for electricity to pump the effluent. It is estimated to save more than $200,000 annually, which will partially offset the cost of the essential upgrade.


Last summer, the Tarpum Bay/Rock Sound Reverse Osmosis Desalination Plant on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas began commercial water production. The plant’s advanced desalination technology is helping to expand water production and improve access to clean drinking water.

The plant uses SeaTECH 84, a seawater reverse-osmosis membrane technology manufactured by GE (Trevose, Pa.). The water plant now can produce 200,000 imperial gal (910,000 L, or 240,400 U.S. gal) per day of desalinated water.


The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in November launched Operational Excellence, or OpX, a program that seeks to enhance services, result in environmental benefits, and reduce costs for DEP’s 9 million water and wastewater customers. Veolia Water (Chicago) was hired to develop recommendations for streamlining workflows, boosting productivity, identifying opportunities for efficiency gains, and keeping future water rate increases as low as possible.

As the United States’ largest municipal water and wastewater utility, DEP currently spends roughly $1.2 billion annually on operations and maintenance, and aims to achieve $100 million to $200 million in annual savings through the program, according to a Veolia press release.


Synagro Technologies Inc. (Houston) and its partners, Andritz Separation Inc. (Arlington, Texas), King Engineering Associates (Jacksonville, Fla.), and TN Ward Co. (Ardmore, Pa.), have successfully completed a design, build, finance, and operate dewatering and pelletizing project with the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD).

This public–private partnership aims to address escalating operations costs and stricter regulations. The project also helped PWD upgrade its biosolids recycling center dewatering facilities, improve odor management and site aesthetics of the facilities, develop the capacity to process 100% of biosolids into Class A, and manage beneficial use of the product produced within the operation. These improvements were made using private-sector capital, thereby preserving PWD capital for other infrastructure projects.

The new facility processes as much as 59,000 dry Mg/yr (65,000 dry ton/yr) of biosolids and meets all requirements for a Class A biosolids management program.


The Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation awarded a 15-year, $88.6 million contract to Honeywell Process Solutions (Morris Township, N.J.) to completely overhaul the technology controlling the bureau’s massive wastewater treatment system. The Honeywell technology will enable the city to link its four main treatment plants with geographically dispersed pumping stations that will give operators the ability to control the entire system from a central location, if needed. The project will help the city to more effectively and efficiently monitor operations at the city’s pumping stations and collection facilities that are scattered throughout more than 1300 km2 (500 mi2) of the city’s service area.

The project is scheduled to begin in the first half of this year and will take approximately 7 years to complete; the company also will provide support services for 8 years after completion.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $1.455 million to the City of Lee’s Summit, Mo., for improvements to its sewer system. The purpose of the project is to construct a segment of the Cedar Creek project, which will eliminate sewer overflows and groundwater contamination from leaks in the existing deteriorating pipe.

The new sewer will provide adequate capacity for both current and anticipated future flows. The project will include installation of approximately 3000 m (9800 ft) of sewer pipe and 32 manholes.

The project is expected to be completed by summer 2014.


The new Spokane County (Wash.) Water Reclamation Facility began operations on Dec. 1 — approximately 6 months ahead of the contract deadline and $1 million under budget, according to a county press release.

Using state-of-the-art membrane filtration technology, the new $173 million facility will achieve treatment levels for nutrients that are some of the most stringent in the nation. For example, the water that is discharged into the Spokane River from the facility will have the lowest levels of combined nutrient pollution in the United States. In addition, the new facility will produce Class A reclaimed water for beneficial reuse, including industrial uses, urban irrigation, and wetlands restoration.

With the initial capacity to treat as much as 30,000 m3/d (8 mgd), the facility can be expanded to a capacity of 91,000 m3/d (24 mgd) to accommodate increasing demand during the next 20 to 50 years.

The design and construction of the facility is an estimated $1 million under budget and approximately 6 months ahead of the contract deadline. Spokane County selected CH2M Hill Constructors Inc. (Englewood, Colo.) under a public–private partnership approach to design, build, and operate the facility for up to 20 years.


© 2012 Water Environment Federation. All rights reserved.