Robindale Wastewater Treatment Plant Renovation and Expansion Project (TX)


  • $32.3-million design-build expanding treatment capacity from 10 million gallons per day (mgd) to 14.5 mgd
  • Retrofit of existing facilities to support Modified Ludzack-Ettinger (MLE) treatment process
  • High-efficiency design that reduces energy demand, improves lifecycle cost, and supports safe operations
  • Promotes economic development through partnering with local engineering firms
  • First municipal design-build water/wastewater project in Texas.

The Brownsville Public Utilities Board’s (BPUB) provides quality electric, water, and wastewater services to over 50,000 customers in the City of Brownsville and surrounding area. Portions of its wastewater system are over 80 years old, and the Robindale Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) is near capacity. Funded in part by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this $32-million renovation and expansion project will cover the city’s north service area to ensure high-quality effluent water through 2025.

The design-build team of CH2M and Ambiotec Engineering Services was selected to work with BPUB providing full design, construction, startup and management services necessary to meet upcoming Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) treatment deadlines.

The plant design will deliver a technical solution that aligns with defined permit regulations within BPUB’s capital budget. The base design includes elements to increase overall plant capacity, support nitrogen removal, incorporates Class B biosolids productions, and implements high-efficiency blowers.

To support nitrogen removal, the base process design modifies the existing secondary clarifiers to serve as aeration basins for the MLE activated sludge treatment process.

The CH2M team has developed innovative design technology focused on improving lifecycle cost and environmental sustainability by using “green” technology, including:

  • High-efficiency turbo blowers to reduce energy use.
  • Increased treatment capacity from 10 million gallons per day (mgd) to 14 mgd, to support the needs of the expanding community.
  • Bioscrubber that uses biology to manage odor, without using carbon or chemicals for operation.
  • UV light disinfection technology for final plant effluent disinfection, a safer and more environmentally-friendly alternative.

The flexibility of the design solution allows the plant effluent from the Robindale WWTP to be used for reuse applications if additional treatment to conform with Texas Type I reclaimed water regulations is provided in the future. This allows BPUB to add reclaimed water treatment capacity incrementally; as both the WWTP influent flow permits; and users are identified and conveyance to them is completed. Reclaimed water is a drought-proof resource that can be used for improving resacas.

This is the first municipal design-build water/wastewater project in Texas. The project achieved 100% design completion in June 2012, with construction beginning in July 2012 and schedule for substantial completion in January 2014.

As of September 2012 the project had more than 22,000 hours worked without a safety incident.