Most of us don’t put much thought into what happens to our wastewater once it leaves our homes. And we certainly don’t think about the required permitting, planning, funding, or design it takes to build or upgrade a wastewater treatment plant.
Until I spoke with Carl Hipwell, the Wastewater Services Manager at T-O Engineers, I never realized just how much thought, planning, and effort the T-O Engineers Wastewater Team puts into helping each of our customers navigate this process.
Financial and Eco-Friendly Sustainability Is Part of Our Planning Process
Many of our municipal customers seek out our expertise to help expand and improve an aging or undersized public wastewater system. These systems are no longer able to meet the community’s demands due to its growing population or the increasingly strict regulatory requirements. Recently, Carl and his team worked with the Ellisport Bay Sewer District to develop a wastewater treatment plan to evaluate options for improving wastewater effluent quality while also accommodating new customers located on the Hope Peninsula near Sandpoint, Idaho.
A normal part of developing a facility plan involves predicting wastewater flows and loads based on the projected population growth and historic plant influent quality data. It also requires the engineering team to identify the best collection system, treatment system, and reuse or discharge alternatives to help the customer meet federal, state, and local water quality standards. However, with this client, it was particularly important to consider local water quality standards and to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any potential effects to nearby Lake Pend Oreille.
T-O Engineers worked closely with Ellisport Bay Sewer District to achieve several sustainability goals as they developed the facility plan. These goals included maintaining or improving product quality, customer satisfaction, and recreational water quality meeting regulatory compliance requirements, and preserving ecological areas while also considering the financial viability of each alternative. Other sustainability efforts included investigating eco-friendly components such as low-energy pumps and motors as well as incorporating LEED criteria when considering operations and maintenance options to improve efficiency and cost-savings.
Our Creativity Pays Off for Our Customers
The small town of Fruitland, Idaho, is best known for its beautiful apple orchards. However, when its wastewater treatment plant was badly in need of a major overhaul, it started to become known for its permit violations. When the fines from the Environmental Protection Agency began piling up, city leaders turned to T-O Engineers. To help solve these problems, our Water Resources Team worked with City staff to develop an award-winning design for the new 1.7 million gallons per day wastewater treatment plant and even helped the city secure the bonds and funding needed to pay for the project.
The team’s innovative design involved upgrading the outdated system that consisted of two aerated lagoon facilities that discharged to both the Payette and Snake rivers. One lagoon was replaced with a lift station and the other was replaced with a modern mechanical treatment facility big enough to handle the city’s wastewater.
During the planning and design phases, our engineers were also able to find creative ways to help reduce costs for the City and its customers. This facility included a Multi-Stage Activated Biological Process (MABP) to help reduce pollutants and remove biological nutrients. Since this system is able to achieve the required nutrient reduction, it saves the city more than $300,000 per year compared to the cost of chemical nutrient removal. Another cost-saving measure was installing a new gravity-fed sewer system flowing to the main pump station which saves 43% in pumping costs annually. Other energy efficient components included energy-efficient motors, variable frequency drives, a low-pressure/high-intensity UV light disinfection system, and an advanced SCADA control and monitoring system.
A City’s Wastewater Treatment Capacity Can Limit its Growth
The City of Parma was noticing that the wastewater treatment infrastructure was becoming harder and harder to maintain and on top of that, the city was close to its capacity limit for treating wastewater inhibiting any growth of the City. It has been
almost 40 years since its treatment plant had received a major upgrade. In order to continue expanding, city leaders turned to T-O Engineers for help in planning, designing, and implementing a new system that would accommodate the desired growth and meet Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program (IPDES) requirements.
As our Wastewater Team worked with Parma’s mayor, the city council, and the public works superintendent to identify the city’s needs, they quickly realized the new system would result in a significant rate hike for city customers. To help reduce this burden for Parma’s residents, T-O worked with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Army Corps to obtain $7.3 million in project funding which included a $3 million dollars grants.
Learn More About Our Custom Engineering and Design Services
Our wastewater experts have the experience, reputation, and relationships necessary to plan, design, and complete construction of your project. This includes helping you navigate the intricacies of state and federal regulations and the permitting process while also providing innovative and cost-effective solutions to meet your budgetary needs.