Ballasted Microsand Clarification Design Gets Noticed

The Somersworth (New Hampshire) Water Treatment Facility project received high acclaim for excellence in design and construction at the annual Build Boston Convention, the premier New England regional convention for the design and construction industry. Wright-Pierce engineers piloted and designed an enhanced ballasted microsand clarification process as part of the facility upgrade; the first of its kind application used for drinking water in New England.

The Eagle Award, the highest ranked award at the Excellence in Construction Awards Ceremony, was presented by Massachusetts Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors to Methuen Construction, contractor for the Somersworth Facility upgrade.

Wright-Pierce worked in close collaboration with Methuen Construction and the city of Somersworth, owner of the project, to achieve success despite several design and construction challenges. The facility is now a state-of-the-art facility with upgrades that meet increased demand and improved water quality, while preserving the historic building.

From a design perspective, the goals were to integrate cutting edge technology into an 1895 environment, preserve the historic building envelope, and maintain the core filtration process. Construction presented its own unique challenges including maintaining the existing processes, working within an old treatment facility, and dealing with a major flood during construction.

In order to maintain the existing operation during the renovation process, a construction sequence identified key items such as demolition, renovation, new construction, site work, critical path items and established deadlines for systems to come online.

The end result is a project that exceeds expectations in both final water quality and ease of operation. Disinfection by-products were reduced to below required standards, the city met its requirements for organic carbon removal, and the aesthetic water quality to the city's commercial and residential customers was greatly improved.

"The award-winning result achieved at the Somersworth project is a testament to the cooperation, talent, and professionalism of the entire project team. Overcoming the damage caused by the Salmon Falls River flood was the true test of our abilities and working together we passed with flying colors," said Methuen Construction Project Manager Jay Spooner.

Wright-Pierce is a New England-based, engineering firm specializing in water, wastewater, and infrastructure services.

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