Environmental Protection

WateReuse Association Presents 10 Awards

On Sept. 8, the WateReuse Association presented its annual awards at the 23rd Annual Symposium in Dallas, Texas. This year's winners are

• North Texas Municipal Water District -- East Fork Raw Water Supply Project (Wylie, Texas);

• Orange County Water District & Orange County Sanitation District -- Groundwater Replenishment System (Fountain Valley, Calif.);

• Carnation Wastewater Treatment Facility (Seattle,Wash.);

• Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Facilities (El Paso, Texas);

• City of Santa Rosa's Subregional Water Reuse System (Santa Rosa, Calif.);

• Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities/Cheyenne Water Reuse Program (Cheyenne, Wy.);

• Calpine Corporation (Middletown, Calif.);

• Pick Talley, Talley Conservation Consulting (Tampa, Fla.);

• Alan Plummer, Alan Plummer Associates (Fort Worth, Texas); and

• Global Water Center (Maricopa, Ariz.).

WateReuse Projects of the Year -- Large
North Texas Municipal Water District

Representing the largest project in Texas using reclaimed water to augment a surface water supply source, the East Fork Raw Water Supply Project will provide the district with more than 102,000 acre-feet of water per year – enough water to serve a half million people. When completed, this project will divert an average of 91 million gallons per day (mgd) of effluent-dominated water from the East Fork of the Trinity River and polish the water in one of the largest constructed wetlands in the country (1,840 acres). After passage through the wetland, the water will be pumped through an 84-inch pipeline 43 miles north of the project site to Lavon Lake for storage, blending, and water supply use.

The project includes a 165-mgd peak capacity diversion pump station, 165-mgd peak capacity conveyance pump station, electrical substation to provide power for the conveyance pump station; and a Nature Center to provide educational opportunities.

Work first began on the $31-million constructed wetland in 2004 with the design and construction of the first of two nursery wetlands. The initial nursery, 20-acres in size, was used to provide plant stock of selected emergent wetland species for a 200-acre second phase nursery. The 200-acre nursery, completed in early 2006, is being used to provide more than 1.6 million plants for the full-scale wetland.

Project managers had to maximize the wetland treatment area within a confined footprint, coordinate multiple regulatory permitting, and design for high diversion rates while maintaining optimal water levels in the wetland.

Orange County District -- Groundwater Replenishment System

The Groundwater Replenishment System is the largest water purification and reuse project of its kind in the world. The new system increases Orange County's water independence by providing a locally controlled, drought-proof supply of safe, high quality water. At full capacity, it will generate enough pure water to meet the needs of 500,000 people. The system's purified water is higher quality than all state and federal drinking water standards and has water quality similar to distilled water.

The system takes highly treated wastewater that is currently going to the ocean and purifies and reclaims it to produce 72,000 acre-feet of purified water each year. The Groundwater Replenishment System produces water using half the energy required to pump water to Southern California from Northern California – saving enough energy to power 21,000 homes each year.

More than a decade in development, the elected leaders of Orange County Water District and the Orange County Sanitation District were visionary in their pursuit of the Groundwater Replenishment System and their understanding of water reuse and its potential as a new water resource. The system is being replicated in Australia and other locations in the United States facing water supply challenges, such as Florida, California, and Colorado.

WateReuse Project of the Year -- Small
Carnation Wastewater Treatment Facility (Seattle, Wash.)

To enable Carnation to grow according to its Comprehensive Plan, the city of Carnation has partnered with King County to provide local wastewater treatment.

The 1.1-square-mile city lies in an environmentally and culturally sensitive rural area on the eastern edge of metropolitan King County with spawning grounds for Chinook and Coho salmon as well as habitat for a number of other documented special-status species located in the nearby stretch of Snoqualmie River.

In May 2008, King County began operation of a 0.4-mgd membrane bioreactor and ultraviolet disinfection wastewater treatment facility. In partnership with Ducks Unlimited, a national environmental organization, this project has been combined with enhancement of the Chinook Bend Natural Area. This fall, all the treated water from the plant is planned to provide drought-tolerant hydrology to a degraded natural wetland. Managed as an open space and habitat protection designated area, the Chinook Bend wetland will become the primary discharge location for Class A reclaimed water. The Snoqualmie River outfall adjacent to the wetland will serve as the backup discharge location.

WateReuse Project of the Year -- Desalination Facility
Bailey Hutchison Desalination Facilities (El Paso, Texas)

In a collaborative and innovative move to preserve the region's water resources, El Paso Water Utilities and the U.S. Army at Fort Bliss have jointly implemented the largest groundwater desalination project in North America. Tapping vast brackish water reserves beneath the desert floor, the 27.5-mgd Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Facilities project -- named after the senior U.S. senator from Texas -- applies advanced technologies to develop a sustainable drinking water for the city of El Paso and Fort Bliss.

The $87 million, state-of-the-art project uses reverse osmosis membranes and deep-well injection -- assisted by solar energy -- to conveys 3 mgd of waste concentrate nearly 4,000 feet below ground with no adverse environmental impact. Supported by this new drinking water supply, the Army increased personnel and operations at Fort Bliss, ensuring military readiness and benefiting the local economy.

This flagship project demonstrates a holistic water supply approach, integrating fresh groundwater, brackish groundwater, reclaimed water, and surface water to maximize limited supplies.

WateReuse Institution of the Year City of Santa Rosa's Subregional Water Reuse System (Santa Rosa, Calif.)

The city of Santa Rosa is the owner of the Santa Rosa Subregional Water Reclamation System, which also serves its regional partners, including the cities of Rohnert Park, Cotati, and Sebastopol in Northern California.

The system treats all of its wastewater to California's highest standard -- Disinfected Tertiary Recycled Water for Unrestricted Use. It has achieved an unprecedented level of reuse for a utility of its size in California -- 95 percent (20,000 acre-feet/year) of the wastewater that is generated by the system is recycled for beneficial uses. To achieve this, the Santa Rosa Subregional Water Reclamation System has invested more than $350 million in local funds to build 1.6 billion gallons of storage facilities to manage seasonal demand patterns and a 46-mile long network of transmission and distribution piping to irrigate over 6,400 acres of land, including organic food, vineyards, and urban landscapes. The system also supports a 41-mile long, 48-inch diameter Geysers Pipeline along with pump stations and storage facilities to lift recycled water up to a mountain top where it is injected into a geothermal steamfield. Recovered steam is used to create a new, sustainable energy supply (150 MW) for more than 100,000 homes.

The system is expanding urban irrigation to new customers, offsetting potable demands from the Russian River and increasing water supply and supply reliability for agriculture, the environment, and the growing population within the service area. The remaining 5 percent of the recycled water that is not beneficially reused is discharged during the winter to the Laguna when stream flows are high.

WateReuse Public Education Program of the Year
Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities/Cheyenne Water Reuse Program (Cheyenne, Wy.)

Cheyenne's Water Reuse System became a phenomenal success following the implementation of its Public Information Program. The effort resulted in a successful outreach curriculum to educate end users and residents, who now use Cheyenne's water resources wisely by irrigating with recycled water.

As Cheyenne launched the first major water recycling program in Wyoming, irrigation with recycled water was misunderstood. Other cities tried to recycle water and stopped when their efforts were rejected by the public.

With foresight, commitment, and a program to enhance understanding, the residents of Cheyenne rallied to show public support, resulting in the successful reuse project.

Cheyenne's Board of Public Utilities presented the outreach items, as well as presentations, brochures, infomercials, and frequently asked Q&As. Based on its investigations of previous projects, the board set three objectives for the outreach campaign for use of recycled water for irrigation, including:

• Communication detailing recycled water benefits.

• Facts to prove the safety of recycled water.

• Outline of the board's outstanding reputation as the source of quality water in Cheyenne.

Currently, Cheyenne is receiving national attention, an immense honor for a city of 54,000. The American Water Works Association and Rural Water Association have both expressed interest in using the training materials.

WateReuse Customer of the Year
Calpine Corporation (Middletown, Calif.)

The Santa Rosa Geysers Recharge Project converts recycled water into steam to produce up to 150 MW of clean reliable geothermal power for the California power grid. This public-private partnership project also helps keep waterways clean and eliminate fossil fuel emissions.

Calpine is the customer of the Santa Rosa Geysers Recharge Project and has a 30-year contract with Santa Rosa to receive recycled water. Recycled water is pumped to The Geysers geothermal field located 41 miles from and at an elevation of 3,300 feet higher than the wastewater treatment facility. Calpine injects the recycled water into the steam reservoir where it is heated up to make new steam to generate clean renewable geothermal energy. Calpine receives and manages up to 5 billion gallons per year of recycled water from Santa Rosa.

Calpine constructed various facilities at the Geysers to use the recycled water, including pipelines, a pumping station, and injection wells. The company provides electrical power from its Geysers power plants to power four of five pump stations for the system. Calpine operators control distribution of water to multiple injection wells across The Geysers.

The company is so convinced of the value of recycled water that it has invested almost $100 million in facilities to ensure that this valuable resource will be used over the next 30 years and beyond.

WateReuse Person of the Year
Pick Talley, Talley Conservation Consulting (Tampa, Fla.)

In 1994, Pinellas County's Water System, Sewer System and Department of Solid Waste Management began the process of consolidation to form Pinellas County Utilities. The consolidation brought new strengths to the utility, its divisions, and conservation initiatives.

Pick Talley, as director of utilities, headed the new organization made up of nine departments and their respective directors. He continued in that role until his retirement earlier this year.

Pinellas County Utilities and its 600-plus strong staff, serve the daily needs of more than 600,000 water customers, 350,000 wastewater customers, and handle solid waste disposal for the entire county.

Under Pick's leadership, the use of public education and water conservation techniques helped residential consumption of water in Pinellas County steadily decrease by over 40 percent. This major decrease in per capita water use places Pinellas County among the lowest in per capita water consumption in the nation with a 2006-07 per capita use of 89 gallons per person per day.

One of the largest efforts toward conservation was embodied in the effort to create a reclaimed water system that was focused on reducing potable water use. Pinellas County began providing reclaimed water in the mid 1970s and currently has 340 miles of reclaimed water lines in operation, providing an average of 30 million gallons of water per day to 18,500 county resident and business accounts. A significant component of the system is the purchase of reclaimed water from other cities through interconnects for sale to county customers.

WateReuse Award of Merit
Alan Plummer, Alan Plummer Associates (Fort Worth, Texas)

With a visionary spirit and a personal commitment to environmental stewardship, Alan Plummer has played a key role in the promotion, support, and implementation of water reuse in Texas.

Plummer's success can be attributed to his ability to allay the political, financial, and public perception issues related to water reuse.

In about 1980, Alan worked on the largest water reuse project at the time for the Dallas County Utility and Reclamation District. This supply system, still in operation, supplies up to 16-mgd of reclaimed water from the Trinity River Authority's Central Regional Wastewater System to irrigate golf courses and landscaped areas as well as maintain water levels in more than 30 canals and lakes. This project has supplied over 20 billion gallons of reclaimed water since inception.

Plummer also assisted the Tarrant Regional Water District and the North Texas Municipal Water District with two of the largest indirect reuse projects in the United States. These projects divert water from the Trinity River, which, during dry periods, consists primarily of wastewater effluent from Dallas-Fort Worth. The projects use constructed wetland systems for polishing treatment prior to supply reservoir delivery. These projects, once complete, will provide more than 250-mgd of additional supply to Dallas-Fort Worth.

Plummer has served on numerous state and national water reuse committees and is nationally recognized as a passionate advocate of water reuse's importance to the future of water supply. His leadership and vision have been instrumental in advancing awareness and development of water reuse and deserve recognition.

WateReuse Award of Merit
Global Water Center (Maricopa, Ariz.)

In May 2007, Global Water Resources celebrated the opening of its administrative facility, the Global Water Center, in Maricopa, Ariz. Awarded LEED© Silver Certification in 2008, Global believes this critically progressive facility will stand for future generations as a beacon for water conservation and sustainability.

The facility epitomizes a holistic and integrated approach to good water resource management; an approach that embraces the truth that good water resource policy must be grounded in innovative engineering and a sound financial approach and is ultimately dictated by public perception.

The goal was to create a facility that would not only serve simply as an administrative center, but as an educational force -- engaging and educating the public about water scarcity and how the deployment of recycled water can safely and cost-effectively address this serious water resource issue.

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