Providing an average of 8.4 million gallons per day (8.4 mgd) of wastewater treatment to the more than 27,000 customers in the Winchester, Virginia area, the FWSA needed to improve its operational cost-efficiency at its Opequon Water Reclamation Facility. The overall goal of a cost-efficiency facility is to provide greater benefits to taxpayers and its customers, and increasing the plant’s capacity to support private industry growth. The resulting green-energy facility now serves a broad range of customers, including both private and public entities
Based on their technical qualifications, FWSA and its energy performance contractor Energy Systems Group (ESG) selected Haskell to serve as CMAR firm (construction manager/general contractor) on the project. Haskell further partnered with the engineer at FWSA and ESG to select, Black & Veatch (BV), to design, permit and construct three new anaerobic digesters, a digester control building, high-strength waste receiving stations, a nutrient-harvesting system (OSTRA), a new combined heat and power (CHP) system, as well as replacing the existing plate-frame presses with belt presses and perform various other facility upgrades.
Today, the methane gas produced by the new facility meets more than 50% of the treatment plant’s electrical needs. The green-energy facility also harvests phosphorus—a rare element that is an essential ingredient for fertilizer and crop production—from the wastewater stream. New dewatering facilities replaced worn-out plate and frame presses using which used lime as a stabilizer. The energy savings from these upgrades and improvements will ultimately entirely offset their cost, while giving FWSA a valuable asset.
In addition to being a great example of a government entity striving for operational efficiency and advancing sustainable infrastructure solutions, this project also has a positive impact on the environment. The new sludge dewatering process halves both the use of chemicals and the amount of biosolids hauled offsite for land disposal. New high-efficiency turbo blowers greatly reduce the power consumed by the aeration process. And the extra capability enables the utility to augment its annual revenues with new tipping fees for high-strength waste from the nearby industry. The project, which began in July 2014 and is being completed in 2016, increases the reclamation facility’s processing capacity from 8.4 mgd to 12 mgd (or 30 dg hydraulic capacity).