Environmental Protection

B&V Enhances Columbia, Mo., Wastewater Plant, Energy Savings

Columbia, Mo., wastewater treatment plant

Columbia, Mo., Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Construction is now under way on upgrades to the Columbia (Mo.) Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant that serves more than 100,000 area residents. The improvements will enable the city of Columbia to handle increasing wastewater treatment demand more efficiently, while improving the quality of treated water discharged into nearby wetlands. Black & Veatch designed the upgrades to improve reliability and reduce energy consumption.

“Black & Veatch has provided valuable engineering expertise in support of our water and wastewater treatment goals for more than 30 years,” said John Glascock, Columbia director of Public Works. “This project is the culmination of more than seven years of planning that will help us to proactively meet the future needs of our growing community in a sustainable manner.”

The $62 million project, partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2012. Among its many benefits, treated wastewater from the plant will meet new and future discharge requirements. The enhanced water quality will benefit wildlife habitats at the nearby Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, which receives water discharged from the plant via a unique series of constructed wetlands that provide additional, naturally occurring water treatment.

Energy efficient enhancements include adjustable frequency drive pumping units, submerged fine bubble diffusers and high-efficiency blowers. A dewatering step will be added to the facility’s existing solids processing method, reducing the need for liquid biosolids to be transported by tanker truck to an off-site location. This will reduce local truck traffic as well as vehicle carbon emissions, fuel costs, vehicle miles and wear-and-tear on neighboring streets by approximately 70 percent.

To capitalize on its methane gas, a new cleaning system and two 400-kilowatt engine generators will be installed as part of the digester complex. The resulting combined heat and power system will increase the amount of methane gas used through the engine generators by 36 percent and increase the amount of electricity capable of being generated by 67 percent compared to the existing system.

“Energy is one of the primary costs in operating and maintaining water and wastewater treatment plants,” said Dan McCarthy, president and chief executive officer of Black & Veatch’s global water business. “Many of the designed upgrades at the Columbia facility include measures for increased energy efficiency, energy recovery and reduced energy consumption. This project is a strong example of how new technologies and processes can not only aid in plant expansion but also lead the way for green, sustainable solutions.”

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