Blue Plains to Upgrade Nutrient Removal

Enhanced nutrient removal upgrades at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (AWTP) are expected to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States.

Black & Veatch will design Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) upgrades to the northern zone of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority's (DCWASA) Blue Plains' facility. Part of the authority's total nitrogen reduction program, the project is focused on the facility's secondary treatment system. Through the use of upgraded diffusers and more efficient air handling in the secondary treatment process, the project is expected to significantly reduce energy demand.

The firm will implement bioaugmentation – a cost-effective method of applying of microbial strains to the wastewater for treatment –for nutrient removal and include new centrate treatment facilities, which will help to remove nitrogen loads from the facility’s new biosolids program and reduce loads on the nutrient removal system.

The Blue Plains plant, which can treat an average of 370 million gallons per day, serves more than 1.7 million people living in the District of Columbia and surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia.

“The ENR North project will improve water quality in the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay, with a goal of enhancing efficiency in our overall operation and reduce energy consumption, which could mean considerable savings for the authority and its customers,” said Leonard Benson, acting chief engineer and deputy general manager for DCWASA.

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