Nutrient Removal at Hopewell Water Renewal

Nov. 8, 2017

WORLD WATER WORKS, INC., a leading designer and manufacturer of wastewater treatment solutions, recently provided its Ideal MBBR-DAF technology to Hopewell Water Renewal (HWR), formerly Hopewell Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, through a public-private partnership between the City of Hopewell, HDR Engineering, PC Construction, and Heyward, Inc. The combination of World Water Works’ Ideal MBBR and Ideal DAF technologies will help the facility meet new nitrogen limits to the James River within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

HWR is a secondary wastewater treatment plant treating wastewater from local industries and domestic sources. The plant started operating in 1977 and was designed to treat for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), remove total suspended solids (TSS), and employ the use of pure oxygen. The facility has achieved the treatment goals for both BOD and TSS. However, treatment regulations have changed over the years and now require the removal of nutrients. In the past, HWR has been below the waste load allocations for phosphorus within the facility, and has recently been able to meet the nitrogen allocations through the purchase of nitrogen credits under the Nutrient Credit Exchange Program.

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More than 80% of the facility’s wastewater comes from industry, some of which contains known toxins to ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOBs) and nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOBs). AOBs and NOBs are responsible for the traditional nitrification of wastewater. To manage and mitigate the limiting effects of these toxins, HWR conducted an extensive evaluation and pilot treatability study of various technologies to select the appropriate technology to treat the water. With more than six months of pilot testing complete, World Water Works’ Ideal MBBR-DAF system was the clear leader. The system consistently brought facility treatment levels to the future target requirements, while proving to be robust against the hard-to-degrade and potentially toxic industrial wastewater sources being treated. The result of the pilot treatability study not only determined the best available technology but also led to a reduction in capex, while providing an easily implemented unit process to the plant.

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At HWR, the World Water Works’ MBBR technology allows for a segregated flow to be nitrified to meet the new ammonia permit requirements set forth by the government. HWR plans to have this ammonia requirement met in 2018. The MBBR technology is a fixed-film process instead of a suspended growth process, which provides protected surface area for bacteria to form biofilm and adhere to the surface of the free-floating media. Biofilm systems are governed by diffusion limitation based on the fact that substrates need to penetrate the biofilm structure. This is a limitation, but in cases of inhibitory compounds, lends a significant advantage over suspended growth systems that are not as strongly influenced by diffusion.

To provide a timely and cost-effective solution to the City of Hopewell, teams from HDR Engineering, PC Construction, Heyward, Inc., and World Water Works worked together to present the option of a public-private partnership. The City of Hopewell advertised for an unsolicited proposal for 60 days to offer competitors the opportunity to submit a proposal similar in scope, price, and quality. Since the proposal was originally submitted by the partnership of HDR Engineering, PC Construction, Heyward, Inc., and World Water Works, there was an unsolicited, competitive advantage. After further evaluation of the initial proposal, it was found that the partnership offered the ability to not only implement the project faster as a team, but also at a substantially lower cost than the traditional design-bid-build path. This system allows for local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay to be supplied with better water quality sooner rather than later.

With a public-private partnership such as this, the overall working process is much more efficient. This process eliminates overlap and the repetition of tasks by assigning each partner an area and streamlining the process. The design allows for a collaborative process that saves money for the client, allows for the risk to be divided by six different entities, and offers a competitive advantage when submitting the overall proposal to the local government. While not all municipalities have the legislation in place, more and more states are viewing this type of process with renewed interest. Wastewater treatment is new to public-private partnerships. However, the process has been used extensively in the past for other large-scale public works projects.

With public-private partnerships, identifying and trusting the proper partners is key. The end-user requests information on the partners once unsolicited proposals are submitted. A local lawyer can be helpful in understanding the area makeup, regulations, and jurisdiction.

HWR began studying technologies focused on nutrient reduction in 1996. Ultimately selecting and installing World Water Works’ Ideal MBBR-DAF technology has been 20 years in the making. The project is well underway and celebrated with a ribbon cutting in July. The new facility has been designed to handle the future flows and loads anticipated for 2040. This will allow local businesses to operate and grow, providing valuable jobs and resources to the surrounding community.
About the Author

Daniel Dair

Daniel Dair is the vice president of innovation at World Water Works, Inc., a manufacturer of specialized process and wastewater treatment technologies based in Oklahoma City, OK.