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The 230 mgd regional facility serves three million people in Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe and Mesa. A small dose of ferric chloride in the headworks helps meet sulfide-related air-quality permit limits and causes small particles to come together and settle out in the primary clarifiers. The primary clarifiers were updated several years ago to remove much of the plant’s BOD load before the aeration phase to reduce the use of blowers.
In the last five years, while the amount of suspended solids and COD coming into the plant has increased sharply, the amount going into the aerators has decreased. The plant also uses first-pass and fourth-pass anoxic zones in the aerators, allowing for proper treatment with less oxygen and less blower use. He says the plant started using the denitrification-nitrification-denitrification strategy in the mid-1990s and has been refining it ever since. About half of the plant’s effluent is piped 50 miles to the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the largest nuclear plant in the country and the only one not on a lake or river. Because it doesn’t have to be chlorinated, wastewater destined for Palo Verde is treated in an older part of the plant.
91st Avenue uses sodium bisulfite to dechlorinate effluent prior to discharge, but chlorine is removed naturally in the wetlands. Chlorine analyzers are gathering data and calculating decay rates to determine if peak flows will still be fully dechlorinated. The staff is using that new ability to find other opportunities to limit equipment and energy use during times of low flow. Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Headworks BIO is a global leader in the design, installation, and enhancement of municipal wastewater treatment systems using MBBR processes.
For lower flow applications typical of decentralized wastewater systems, the ActiveCell process enables economic treatment in a compact design providing excellent land-use efficiency, and is equipped for automated operation, requiring only minimal operator attention. When the Newtown (Conn.) Wastewater Treatment Plant had trouble meeting its nitrogen limit, the plant manager, operator and mechanic worked as a team to improve nitrogen removal and dissolved oxygen (DO) control, while reducing energy costs.
An aeration system upgrade in 2007, followed by exceptional teamwork from the plant staff, improved DO control, which in turn improved nitrogen removal and reduced electrical costs by controlling the speed of the mechanical mixer based on DO demand.
Built in 1997 and operated by United Water since 2004, the Newtown plant treats an average of 0.5 mgd and serves 1,126 residential and industrial customers. A portion of the flow is recycled to a smaller anoxic tank (Ovivo) at the front of each oxidation ditch to help remove nitrogen.
A portion of the activated sludge from the secondary clarifiers is returned to the oxidation ditch, and the rest is wasted and thickened by a gravity belt thickener (Ashbrook). Besides Segarra, the staff includes mechanic Thomas Maugeri and operation and maintenance technician Mark Byrns. Segarra has been with the plant seven years and holds Class IV wastewater and collection licenses, and an E-2 electrical license.
The team oversees five pump stations, 89 simplex and 11 duplex grinder pump stations, and 23 miles of pipe. A joint training program between United Water and the town’s public works department has proven valuable in emergencies.
When roads were closed from fallen trees, DPW directed United Water staff to clear the roadways. The plant contracts out the programmable logic controller repairs, bearing replacements and state-mandated calibrations.
Wastewater plant operators take turns driving to the water treatment plant, where they perform routine checks on pump operations, chlorine and phosphate residuals, tank levels, and plant security. Staff members conduct plant tours for the community and school groups and take part in community health fairs. When the plant had trouble meeting its nitrogen limit, the water and sewer authority and United Water made the commitment to upgrade the aeration system.
For example, placement of the DO probes was influenced by the mechanical mixer, which allowed high DO to bleed into the anoxic portion of the oxidation ditch. The plant meets its nitrogen limit of 19 pounds per day, with an actual output of 18 pounds. The plant reduced natural gas consumption in the filter building by reducing the number of fresh air exchanges. Natural gas use has dropped from about 9,000 cubic feet per month during winter to less than 2,000 cubic feet. By monitoring, the plant staff was able to detect high flows and divert a portion of the influent to an offline tank to maintain the process.

The staff prepares by communicating, planning, reviewing procedures, monitoring weather conditions, and making changes only when necessary. The plant is scheduled for an upgrade to the 14-year-old SCADA system, which now allows alarm monitoring only.
Another planned upgrade is to radio telemetry, Ethernet and fiber optic communications, and data transfer systems that will tie into the wastewater plant, the remote wastewater pump stations, and water treatment plant.
The water and sewer authority has approved a solar power project, to start in 2012, that will reduce the plant’s power use by about 30 percent. Hollow-fiber 775-square-foot ultrafiltration modules from Toray Membrane USA contain high-strength PVDF fibers. A chlorine scrubber retrofit gives a Washington water treatment plant a safe and effective emergency system.
Caustic leaks and the solution freezing every winter worried operators at the direct filtration Columbia River Water Treatment Plant in Richland, Wash. A backup system of automatic valves on the chlorine cylinders met regulatory requirements, but the facility was storing 22 tons of chlorine gas in the middle of a residential neighborhood. In 2006, the city built its third water treatment facility, and engineers specified an emergency dry scrubber from Purafil. The 30 mgd (design) plant, serving 50,000 people, treats water from the Columbia River with coagulation, chlorination, and filtration. Operators checked the concentration of the caustic in the tower annually and monitored the area regularly for signs of white powder on the grating above the secondary containment tanks.
To prepare the tower for shipment, operators drained the solution in the reservoir and reaction chamber into two portable 1,200-gallon storage tanks. Finch appointed Brent Andrews, a lead plant operator, as the liaison between the city and Purafil engineers. Workers cleaning out the tower followed confined-space entry procedures, ventilated the enclosure, and wore gas meters. The retrofit included an aluminum framework, a prefabricated wall, a 30 hp, 5,000 cfm blower, a control panel, media screens, and 13 cubic yards of nontoxic dry-scrubbing pellets shipped in Super Sack containers.
Workers installed 12 frame dividers in three rows of four, then secured the screens to them. The chlorine leak detector in the chlorine building connects to a programmable logic controller (PLC). Except for the need to send an annual media sample to Purafil to test its efficacy, the system is maintenance free.
John Love, a Richland water treatment plant mechanic, bolts the 30 hp, 5,000 cfm blower into place. Despite the lack of any large capital projects, the plant has achieved big savings, says assistant plant superintendent Jim Coughenour. It uses single-stage nitrogen removal, single-stage anaerobic digestion, chloramination for disinfection, and a revamped solar drying biosolids operation. Centrate ammonia from the digested sludge dewatering centrifuges is nitrified to nitrate or nitrite at the Centrate Treatment Facility and recycled to the headworks. Spiral scrapers and Stamford baffles (NEFCO) were added, along with energy dissipating center wells.
EPA-funded Tres Rios Constructed Wetlands Demonstration Project on 750 acres along the Salt River.
Coughenour believes that as the wetlands mature, they will still remove all chlorine even if the wetlands accept 100 percent of the plant’s effluent.
Development has taken over much of the property where the plant’s biosolids were land-applied. Eliminating odors and vector attraction problems allows land application closer to homes and businesses.
The majority of these activated sludge facilities will not be able to address future, more stringent regulations or anticipated flow and load increases, without new construction. This combination, commonly known as integrated fixed film activated sludge (IFAS) maintains a higher mixed-liquor suspended solids (MLSS) than single-pass MBBR processes – ideal for upgrading and enhancing municipal wastewater treatment facilities. The process consists of thousands of mobile biofilm carriers, each establishing a high-density population of bacteria within the treatment system; this bacteria naturally removes target wastewater constituents such as ammonia and nitrogen, reliably biodegrading target constituents from process wastewater streams prior to discharge.
The influent is screened (Lakeside Equipment) and then pumped through a Jones + Attwood grit chamber (Ovivo) before activated sludge treatment in two oxidation ditches in parallel, each with a mechanical aerator (Ovivo). The wastewater flows to secondary clarifiers (Ovivo), and the secondary effluent is treated with sand filters (Ovivo), followed by Fisher & Porter UV disinfection (Ironbrook Partners) before discharge to the Pootatuck River. He gained electrical experience from working in the steel industry and is now working on his water treatment license.

They also manage the Fairfield Hill Water Treatment Plant in Newtown, along with two wells and the distribution system. For example, during 2011 summer storms, the public works crews cleared downed trees so United Water crews could reach the remote pump station. The Newtown staff tests for turbidity and pH, but most water samples are sent to an off-site certified lab. The variable-frequency drive results in better nitrogen removal and helps lower energy costs.
In 2008, the town public works department received the platinum award for energy conservation from the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control for the largest energy reduction in Fairfield County. The water and sewer authority purchased monitoring equipment for the collection system to pinpoint the sources of I&I. Local industries include a paper box manufacturer, a cable communications company and a NASCAR racing team.
Finch saw it as the solution and solicited a quote for a 1-ton Purafil dry scrubber from Treatment Equipment Co.
The chlorine facility can disinfect before and after filtration depending on surface water conditions. The city sent its sewer cleaning crew to vacuum out the pucks and a boom truck to load the vessel onto a trailer for transport to a local vendor. He selected Dennis Crater, a maintenance person, as project supervisor in charge of stripping out the vessel and installing the new components. After draining the liquid caustic, they entered the vessel to remove the spray bars and pipe before sucking out the pucks. If a leak is sensed, the scrubber comes on automatically, and the control panel turns on the blower. Phoenix Water Services has transferred about 10 mgd of flow from 23rd Avenue to take advantage of the savings at 91st Avenue.
Currently receiving 45 mgd of treated secondary effluent, the wetlands are designed to accept up to 400 mgd. The economic solution to performance enhancement at these facilities, without any required construction, is achieved by integrating Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) technology. The result is a hybrid process of activated sludge and biofilm carrier technology, achieving biodegradation performance unequalled by similarly sized conventional activated sludge systems. Byrns has been with the plant for a year and holds Class I operator, Class II collection systems, and E-2 electrical licenses.
In 2003, he received the NEWEA Operator Award for Excellence in Plant Operations for improved operations and maintenance at the plant. They also watch all operational parameters, such as solids levels in the tanks, sand filters and headworks. When used with reverse osmosis elements at water reclamation plants, they validate the feasibility of indirect potable reuse. They then cut out the internal fiberglass walls and the barrier between the reaction chamber and reservoir. The pellets, which permanently transform gases into harmless solids, are immediately available for instantaneous reaction regardless of the gas load rate.
It also serves as an odor control chemical at no cost in the headworks and primary clarifiers. 30, we operate and maintain a UV disinfection system, periodically running one bank and taking the other offline so we can hand-wash and clean all the mechanical parts.
The alarm service provider, Precision Alarms, receives automatic alerts if anything goes out of parameter so that they can immediately contact a plant staff member.
To learn how to operate the new equipment, the staff read manuals and talked to the design engineers. Systems have recorded greater than 4-log reduction in somatic bacteriophage through a combination of chloramines and ultrafiltration.
If a cylinder were to rupture, a caustic pump would send solution through spray bars and onto plastic pucks, while a 7.5 hp, 3,000 cfm blower pulled the gas from the building and through the media. A few months after the tower returned, the hairline cracks reappeared, and they kept enlarging until it was necessary to repeat the repairs.

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