WEF honours operational and design excellence in water infrastructure

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) has announced the recipients of the 2017 WEF Awards for operational and design excellence. The award recognises individuals and organisations that have made outstanding contributions to the water environment profession.

“The Water Environment Federation is extremely proud to honour these examples of top-of-industry excellence in operations and design,” Eileen O’Neill, Executive Director of WEF, said.

The 2017 recipients for Operational and Design Excellence Awards are:

The Collection Systems Award, presented to an individual for contributions to the advancement of the wastewater collection. Keith McCormack has more than 30 years of experience in the planning, design, construction, and regulatory compliance of municipal wastewater collection systems and treatment facilities. He maintains a wide-reaching influence throughout the industry, and has continuously held leadership roles – both in title and in responsibility – for the past two decades with WEF as well as the Michigan Water Environment Association. 

The Innovative Technology Award recognises WEF Associate Members who have introduced new innovative products or services that are related to the construction, operation, or maintenance of treatment facilities, and has been awarded to Wipes Ready® Grinders – JWC Environmental for their effective design that is capable of handling non-woven sheets more commonly known as modern trash – which has also been a scourge of the industry for the last five to ten years. Their innovative product consistently showed that it was able to remove this trash and eliminate the possibility of it agglomerating again in trials.

Aqua Assist – Drylet LLC product, another recipient of the Innovative Technology Award, proved its ability to potentially change the way wastewater plants are designed in trials. With this product, the removal of organic compounds was increased significantly as it provides a substrate for additional bacteria to populate.  The possibilities for this product could be extremely beneficial for thousands of water reclamation facilities around the world.

HydroFLOW I Range Products (Powered by Hydropath technology); HydroFLOW USA LLC, on the other hand, was extremely innovative with its removal of struvite built up in pipelines.  This product may be extreme beneficial for many plants around the U.S. struggling with this issue in their digesters and connecting pipes.

Philip F. Morgan received the Morgan Operational Solutions Award. He served with as the professor of sanitary engineering at the State University of Iowa from 1948-1961 with distinction, and this award recognises his valuable contributions to the in-facility study and solution of operational problems. The sewage boat is a valuable contribution as it solved a difficult operational problem while also saving money and improving safety. The sewage boat has a broad application across systems in the U.S. and Canada.

The Schroepfer Innovative Facility Design Medal recognises excellence in conceiving and directing the design of a project to achieve substantial cost savings or economic benefit while achieving environmental objectives. In honour of George J. Schroepfer, the third President of the WEF and an educator who stressed the economics in design of wastewater facilities, it will be conferred on the completed Calumet Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) – Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. The system offers substantial capital and operating cost savings for each municipality served by relieving the burden of constructing and operating individual systems to capture and treat CSOs to comply with regulations. Additionally, the Calumet TARP system benefits the service area by saving more than US$40 million in annual flood damages.

The Water Quality Improvement Award is presented annually to the water quality improvement programme that best demonstrates significant, lasting, and measurable excellence in water quality improvement or in prevention of water quality degradation in a region, basin, or water body. The Calumet Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) – Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago includes a 7.9-billion-gallon (29.9-billion-litre) reservoir and 37 miles (59.5 kilometres) of deep tunnels that have resulted in reduced flooding as well as the elimination of combined sewer overflows for the 556,000 people it serves. In addition, the Calumet TARP project has resulted in increased dissolved oxygen levels, increased fish populations, and major increases in fish species.

The annual WEF Project Excellence Award pays tribute to excellence and innovation in the execution of projects and programmes in the water sector. The awardees are the Alexandria Renew Enterprises State-of-the-Art Nitrogen Upgrade Programme. AlexRenew recognised the opportunity to address pending regulations while also renewing their commitment to sustainability, innovation, and the surrounding community.  The resulting project included a Long-Range Planning Study through to 2030, design, and a US$131 million upgrade that is at the forefront of nutrient removal technology and engages the community like never before.

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) Stickney Water Reclamation Plant Nutrient Recovery Facility partnered with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies to implement a nutrient recovery system, as well as with Black & Veatch to design and construct the facility at the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant (WRP) in Cicero, Illinois.  The MWRD converted the 1.44-billion-gallon (5.4-billion-litre) per day Stickney WRP to biological phosphorus removal as one part of its nutrient management plan.

The new Riverhead, NY Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) Upgrade and Reuse Programme cost an approximate US$24 million and included a 1.5 millions of gallons per day (MGD) (5.6 million litres per day) ultrafiltration membrane bioreactor and reclamation system with a fully integrated wastewater reuse process train and golf course irrigation supply system. The upgraded WRRF is the first municipal reuse facility in the state of New York, was completed in time for the 2016 irrigation season, and managed to remain within its budget. The Town of Riverhead WRRF will reuse up to 100,000 gallons (378,541 litres) of in-plant wash water and makeup water daily for internal treatment facility equipment.  The WRRF also provides up to 450,000 gallons (1.7 litres) of reused water a day for irrigation to the Indian Island Golf Course.

The WEF Safety Award is presented annually by the WEF to an industry, municipality, organisation, utility, or other entity engaged in the protection of the water environment to recognise the success of their efforts to promote safety and educate the water industry. The Linden Water Resource Recovery Facility has shown a top-down commitment to safety, including the employment of a dedicated safety manager, and received complimentary feedback from the insurance carrier.

The awards will be presented during WEFTEC® 2017, the 90th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference that will run from the 30th of September to the 4th of October in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.