Louisville biosolids project wins top design-build award

The Morris Forman Wastewater Treatment Plant Alternative Solids Project, completed by the Black & Veatch/Alberici Constructors Joint Venture design-build team for the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) in Kentucky, won the 2004 National Design-Build Award in the category of water over US$15 million.

The Morris Forman Wastewater Treatment Plant Alternative Solids Project, completed by the Black & Veatch/Alberici Constructors Joint Venture design-build team for the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) in Kentucky, won the 2004 National Design-Build Award in the category of water over US$15 million.

“This project deserved national award recognition because it far exceeded our expectations and exemplified the principles of interdisciplinary teamwork, innovation and problem solving in reaching a unified design-build solution that benefits everyone,” said MSD Executive Director H.J. Schardein, Jr.

When the MSD hired the Black & Veatch/Alberici team to eliminate offensive odours and reduce the volume of dewatered sludge at its 105-million-gallon-per-day treatment plant, the utility had tried for more than 15 years to correct the odour problem that brought daily protests from area residents.

The design-build team proposed an alternative solution to the one originally envisioned. The synergistic combination of anaerobic digestion and heat drying cost-effectively reduced the volume of wastewater solids and produced a marketable Class A “Louisville Green” biosolids product, which reduced the utility’s operating costs and reliance on landfill disposal. Converting waste biomass into methane gas and using that gas as well as waste heat recovered from drying operations to fuel plant operations also provides environmental and financial benefits. In total, the improvements are expected to save the MSD $4 million in annual operations and maintenance costs.

The design-build team removed abandoned multiple-hearth incinerators and replaced them with four heat-drying trains, replaced existing centrifuges and vacuum filters with high-solids centrifuges, and rehabilitated and converted equalisation/storage tanks to anaerobic digesters. Designing and constructing the largest heat-drying trains in the USA required special measures to implement these improvements while the facility, which also processes solids from other MSD wastewater facilities, remained operational at all times.

“The innovative efforts of the project team to develop a best-practice delivery process and green solution resulted in exceptional community acceptance, highly successful MBE/WBE/DBE involvement and, most importantly, the only process and contracting solutions that would have worked for this project,” said Schardein. “This project cost nearly $32 million less than we at MSD had initially estimated, dramatically reduced odours for the neighbouring community, and developed a marketable fertiliser product that will save our customers money.” Black & Veatch is based in Overland, Kansas, and Alberici Constructors is located in St. Louis, Missouri.

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