These awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the water environment profession.“The Water Environment Federation is extremely proud to honor these examples of top-of-industry excellence in operations and design,” said Jackie Jarrell, WEF Past President.
The Collection System Award is presented to an individual for contributions to the advancement of the state-of-the-art wastewater collection.
The Morgan Operational Solutions Award honors Philip F. Morgan, who served with distinction as professor of sanitary engineering at the State University of Iowa from 1948-1961. A respected practical researcher, he maintained a strong interest in plant operation. This award recognizes valuable contributions to the in-facility study and solution of operational problems.
Michael converted the aeration tanks at WBWRRF, originally configured as a MLE process, to a unique, 5-stage BNR, step-feed process for less than $200,000. He used PVC roofing panels and fiberglass supports for aeration tank baffle walls at a cost of only $4,000 each. For anaerobic and anoxic zone mixing, Michael designed an inexpensive large bubble mixing system that uses an inverted bell siphon, made with PVC fittings, and low-pressure air from the main aeration system. The mixing system worked so well and cost so little to construct, it was deployed at three other HRSD WRRFs resulting in dramatically decreased activated sludge mixing costs. With the addition of sensors, control system improvements, and other upgrades, Michael’s design resulted in decreasing the effluent TN from about 8 to 3 mg/L, reducing chemical costs through biological phosphorus removal, and reducing aeration energy requirements.
Michael used his homemade baffle walls and large bubble mixers with control system improvements at the 15 MGD HRSD York River WRRF (YRWRRF), converting it from a fully aerobic step-feed process to two-pass step-feed BNR with an anaerobic zone. Michael then went one step further. Based on the success of mainstream partial denitrification/anammox (PdNA) pilot testing at HRSD, Michael controlled ammonia residual in the secondary effluent and established anammox in the denitrification filters. YRWRRF became the first mainstream process in the world to consistently remove a substantial amount of ammonia with anammox. Once anammox were established, it became crucial to operate the BNR process with precise ammonia vs NOx (AvN) control. To meet this need, Michael designed a novel intermittent aeration/intermittent step feed control system, where air is turned on and off, and step feed is controlled to meet ammonia/NOx ratio in the effluent. The results were significant cost savings in chemicals for denitrification, phosphorus removal, and alkalinity, as well as energy savings and an increase in effective plant capacity.
Michael oversees the operation of two pilots testing PdNA. A pilot system at YRWRRF uses PdNA filters and allows for conditions to be tested that cannot be simulated at full scale. At the 20 MGD HRSD James River WRRF, Michael is using data collected from a moving bed biofilm reactor PdNA pilot to advance PdNA technology through full-scale demonstration in an integrated fixed film activated sludge (IFAS) configuration.
The Industrial Water Quality Achievement Award is presented to a corporation and, if applicable, to its engineering firm that best demonstrates significant, lasting, and measurable excellence in water quality improvement or in the prevention of water quality degradation as demonstrated by innovative design and operation of an industrial wastewater, pretreatment or source prevention program.
Bongards Creameries – Perham MN
Bongards Creameries (BC), located in Perham, MN, faced critical decisions regarding their continued increase in production without overwhelming their water supply and wastewater treatment capabilities. Bongards followed in the footsteps of many industries during the 2000s in evaluating water conservation and energy conservation programs which resulted in significant savings at the time. However, additional improvements across the board were needed to accommodate the 60% increase in milk processing since 2015.
Sustainable practices for controlling the organic and hydraulic loading for the wastewater treatment facility by minimizing the volume of wastewater produced and decreasing the volume of potable water used have been set in place and are continually optimized. Bongards uses continuous monitoring of the organic and hydraulic loading (inline BOD/TSS monitoring and flow monitoring) to allow immediate reaction to the exceedance of allowable loading and the implementation of corrective action. In addition, the increase in milk processing caused an increase in a by-product, “salt whey”, from natural cheese production which added to the loading on the wastewater treatment facility. Bongards found a sustainable solution for this problem by turning the by-product into a viable feed product which is licensed to sell to the local farmers.
Since 2015, Bongards has had a 28% reduction in gallons of wastewater produced and a 40% reduction in the gallons of potable water used per pound of milk processed while increasing milk processing 60% as mentioned above. A secondary benefit from the improvements has been the apparent elimination of odor emanating from the treatment pond which was common in the spring which is a double win for Bongards and the community.
WEF's annual Project Excellence Award pays tribute to excellence and innovation in the execution of projects and programs in the water sector.
Project Excellence Award Honorable Mention:
Springs Union Free School District Spring School Sewage System Upgrade.
Participants: Springs Union Free School District, H2M Architects (consultant). Aligning with the Suffolk County Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan and the Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection Groundwater Resources Management Plan, a necessary sanitary upgrade for Springs School evolved into an advanced onsite treatment system design with performance that is well below the existing limits for effluent nitrogen removal in an environmentally-sensitive area. The sustainable aspects of the treatment system are highlighted in the school’s curriculum.
The purpose of this award is to encourage active and effective safety programs in the water environment field, and to recognize entities that not only invest their resources to develop high quality safety programs and adopt them within their own culture, but also actively seek out opportunities to share these programs with others in the water industry for the benefit of all.
City of Garland, Texas
The City of Garland, Texas was selected as the 2021 Awardee for Safety based on their comprehensive safety program, as well as success demonstrated by a long track-record of incident avoidance. The City has established a strong program for investigation, corrective action, and education to prevent recurring issues. The City trains its employees in safety and risk management trends, legislation, products, and practices through their drafted Safety Connection: an inter‐departmental forum for safety review, education, and exchange of ideas and information. These efforts manifested in two long-term streaks of zero lost-time incident over many years of operating two WRFs.
This award was not awarded in 2021.
This award was not awarded in 2021.