Black & Veatch receives awards for wastewater projects

The American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) awarded two Black & Veatch projects with 2022 Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science Awards, reflecting the engineering company’s efforts to increase sustainability and water resilience in California.

New biological nutrient removal (BNR) facilities designed by Black & Veatch for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San) won the grand prize in the design category, along with a one-time award in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Clean Water Act. In addition, the company’s design of new biosolids and Energy Recovery Facility for the Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) won an honor award in the design category.

“Both projects effectively harness engineering and science for progressive and holistic resource management, and both exemplify excellence in water management by water utilities,” said James H. Clark, senior vice president at Black & Veatch, who served as design project manager for both award-winning projects.

“The BNR facilities are helping Regional San meet stringent California effluent regulations and protect a vital water supply resource, while the Biosolids and Energy Recovery Facility at the Michelson Water Recycling Plant (MWRP) produces a Class-A product usable as fertilizer and e‐fuel and generates energy to meet the facility’s power needs for IRWD.”

In Northern California, the new BNR facilities are the centerpiece of the $1.7 billion upgrade to the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant known as the EchoWater Project. The facilities have all but eliminated ammonia and significantly reduced nitrogen in the discharge, strengthening the resilience of the Sacramento‐San Joaquin River Delta – a crucial environmental resource for California.

“Based on a full year of operation, the BNR facilities have performed admirably, achieving a high level of treatment while producing a stable effluent that has met design expectations,” said William Yu, senior civil engineer at Regional San. “This past October, a record wet-weather event brought more than 500 million gallons per day (MGD) into the plant. The facilities proved their flexibility in handling the extreme event while continuing to discharge high‐quality effluent.”

In Southern California, IRWD enhanced its resource-recycling capabilities by adding a new state‐of‐the‐art Biosolids and Energy Recovery facility next to the existing water recycling plant. The new facility converts solids from the water recycling process at MWRP into Class A biosolids for use as fertilizer and e‐fuel, and biogas to run microturbines that power the facility.

“We’re making good use of by-products from the treatment of what people typically see as waste,” said Jose Zepeda, IRWD director of recycling operations, who oversees the facility. “This reflects IRWD’s ongoing commitment to advancing environmentally sustainable treatment practices while providing safe and cost‐effective services to our community.”

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