Black & Veatch Corporation

Plant upgrades to enhance Chesapeake Bay water quality, save energy


Source: Black & Veatch Corporation

Visitors to the Chesapeake Bay area will soon be able to enjoy cleaner water in the bay thanks to upgrades at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (AWTP) The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and is located along the coasts of Virginia and Maryland.

The Blue Plains AWTP, the largest facility of its kind in the world, serves more than 1.7 million people living in the District of Columbia and surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia.

Black & Veatch will design Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) upgrades to the northern zone of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority's (DCWASA) Blue Plains facility. Part of the authority's total nitrogen reduction program, the project is focused on the facility's secondary treatment system. It will lessen the amount of nutrients discharged into the bay and decrease the plant's carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption.

“The ENR North project will improve water quality in the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay, with a goal of enhancing efficiency in our overall operation and reduce energy consumption, which could mean considerable savings for the authority and its customers,” said Leonard Benson, Acting Chief Engineer and Deputy General Manager for DCWASA. “We selected the Black & Veatch team for this project due to its leadership in the environmental engineering community and exceptional technical capabilities with nutrient removal.”

Nutrients, such as nitrogen, help aquatic life to survive and grow. However, excessive levels contribute to rapid algae growth, which depletes oxygen levels in the water and harms the habitat for plants and animals.

“The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure and vital habitat for countless species,” said Dan McCarthy, President and CEO of Black & Veatch’s global water business. “These upgrades will go a long way toward restoring the Chesapeake Bay and other local water courses by helping Blue Plains to boost its nitrogen removal efforts while reducing energy demand.”

Technical Notes:

  • The average daily treatment capacity at Blue Plains AWTP is 370 million gallons per day (MGD) with a peak treatment capacity of 555 MGD, making it the largest facility of its kind in the world.
  • Through the use of upgraded diffusers and more efficient air handling in the secondary treatment process, the project is expected to significantly reduce energy demand.
  • As part of the design process, Black & Veatch will implement bioaugmentation – a cost-effective method of applying of microbial strains to the wastewater for treatment –for nutrient removal. Bioaugmentation cuts chemical costs by reducing the need for supplemental carbon in later processes.
  • Improvements will be designed to achieve more reliable secondary treatment target effluent quality under all conditions.
  • Black & Veatch’s design will also include new centrate treatment facilities, which will help to remove nitrogen loads from the facility’s new biosolids program and reduce loads on the nutrient removal system.
  • Download a high-resolution photo of the Blue Plains AWTP
  • Potential photo caption: Enhanced nutrient removal upgrades to the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant will help the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority improve water quality in Chesapeake Bay. (Photo credit: Black & Veatch).

About Black & Veatch
Black & Veatch is a leading global engineering, consulting and construction company specializing in infrastructure development in energy, water, telecommunications, management consulting, federal and environmental markets. Founded in 1915, Black & Veatch develops tailored infrastructure solutions that meet clients’ needs and provide sustainable benefits. Solutions are provided from the broad line of service expertise available within Black & Veatch, including conceptual and preliminary engineering services, engineering design, procurement, construction, financial management, asset management, program management, construction management, environmental, security design and consulting, management consulting and infrastructure planning. With $3.2 billion in revenue, the employee-owned company has more than 100 offices worldwide and has completed projects in more than 100 countries on six continents.

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