Overview of the Design, Construction, and Operation of the McMurdo Wastewater Treatment Facility in Antarctica

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McMurdo Research Station is situated on the Ross Sea south of New Zealand. As one of the three bases that the National Science Foundation operates in Antarctica, McMurdo houses yearround research personnel conducting a variety of research experiments for the United States. In order to protect the pristine environment, a plan for a wastewater treatment facility for McMurdo was implemented in late 1990’s. The design of the wastewater treatment plant was completed in 2000. Construction began in October 2001 and was completed in 2002, followed by treatment start-up. To date, the wastewater treatment facility has been operating very efficiently, generating final effluent quality which far exceeds secondary treatment standards. This paper provides an overview of the project from the conceptual study of the technology evaluation, through the design process, construction phase, and finally to the current, operational stage of the McMurdo WWTP. Final operating data will be presented.

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