WesTech Engineering, Inc.

Pressure filters protect existing groundwater supply - Case Study

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Courtesy of WesTech Engineering, Inc.

Location: Tar Heel, North Carolina
Owner: Lower Cape Fear Water & Sewer
Engineer: Camp, Dresser & McKee
Contractor: Ruby-Collins, Inc.

Aquifer Depletion

The Lower Cape Fear Water & Sewer  Authority (LCFWSA) manages and distributes  water for multiple counties in North Carolina.  Municipal drinking water was previously drawn  from deep raw water wells in the Upper  Cape Fear aquifer.

Studies were completed to learn how to maintain  a reliable and sustainable water source for  the Upper Cape Fear aquifer. These studies  showed that, with the amount of water drawn  from the aquifer, resources were quickly depleting  and another water source was needed.  The Smithfield Packing Plant uses up to 3 MGD  from the aquifer to raise, feed, slaughter, cool,  and package pigs for pork distribution. Packaging  more than 32,000 hogs per day, the  Smithfield Plant is the world’s largest pork  processing facility.

As one of the major water users from the  aquifer, the Smithfield Packing Plant teamed up  with the LCFWSA to find a more reliable water  source and to protect the aquifer.

New Water Source Challenge

The Lower Cape Fear River was selected as an  additional water source and plans were laid for  a new 4 MGD treatment plant to be located  along the river in Wilmington, NC. The new  plant would be easily expandable to 6 MGD  and would have the potential to reach 30 MGD  as demand increased.

To treat this raw water, conventional water  treatment technologies and pressurized  granular activated  carbon (GAC) contactors  were selected. In September, 2009, WesTech  was chosen to provide three vertical pressurized  contactors with bituminous, coal-based,  activated carbon.

Equipment Selection

GAC media was selected because of its ability  to remove disinfection by-products, synthetic  inorganic compounds, taste and odor that are  found seasonally in the Cape Fear River. With  a sound hydraulic design, WesTech’s GAC  contactors are built to maximize the loading of  organics onto the carbon. Proper design of the  GAC contactor vessel is critical to ensure effective  and efficient use of the GAC media. Vessel  design affects the frequency of GAC replacement,  the ease in which the GAC is replaced,  and the overall life of the vessel. WesTech’s  experience and track record helped ensure  that the LCFWSA was supplied with a robust  system that was designed to remove high  levels of total organic carbon (TOC).

The new water treatment plant provides  an effective solution to protect the existing  groundwater supply, reduce drought risk,  and continue providing quality water for the  Smithfield Packaging Plant as well as the users  in North Carolina.

Superior Solution

The new water treatment plant provides  an effective solution to protect the existing  groundwater supply, reduce drought risk,  and continue providing quality water for the  Smithfield Packaging Plant as well as the users  in North Carolina.

The new plant also provides the infrastructure  needed to support future economic  development in the region, as it is able to  expand its capacity to meet future demands.

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