Case Studies

Safe Passage

Wenatchee, Wash., is stereotypically small-town America, with white picket fences and lush apple orchards. Many visitors to the picturesque agricultural community in central Washington also pay a visit to the town’s biggest tourist attraction – Rocky Reach Dam, with its colorful flowerbeds, visitor’s center and historical and technical museum. The dam, operated by the Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD), is one of nine hydroelectric dams along the 1,200 miles of the Columbia River in Washington.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Located on the Belgium/Netherlands border, the Lanaye Locks link the Albert and Juliana Canals, the latter of which is a side canal of the River Meuse. The three locks are a vital route between Northern and Southern Europe and have operated alongside each other since 1964, but as two of these are too narrow to accommodate even smaller convoy, the larger lock had over time become a serious bottleneck for canal traffic. For most of each year, high water levels in Northern Europe require that water in the canal network be directed towards the Netherlands, where it flows into the sea.

Pumps Help South Carolina District Go From Rags to Riches

The James Island (S.C.) Public Service District (JIPSD) provides services for fire protection, wastewater collection and solid waste disposal. In 2011, JIPSD commissioned the construction of a wastewater pump station equipped with a pair of submersible pumps powered by variable-frequency drives on a programmable logic controller (PLC). 

Breaking the Ice

As the stone quarries in the Château Richer region of Quebec began to exhaust their supply of stone at the beginning of the 20th century, new sources of limestone began to be mined in the nearby municipality of Charlesbourg West. In September 1936, Union Quarry Limited, a specialist in the production of crushed stone, was founded. The company has stayed in the hands of a single family since 1944 and has become one of the primary producers of crushed stone in the Quebec region, due to the quality and diversity of its finished product.


Born in the Bayou

The City of Houston required a new wastewater lift station in Sims Bayou, as the existing station had exceeded its useful life. Due to large variations in total daily head—a static head of 46 ft but reaching as high as 138 ft—pump selection was an issue. The concern centered on net positive suction head required when one pump was running by itself, especially since the consulting engineer, Klotz Associates, had ruled out the use of variable frequency drives (VFD). Also, the City of Houston preferred to build a “station in the round” because construction would cost less.

Simply Smarter

The Ada Township, Mich., utilities department was experiencing frequent unscheduled maintenance visits and corresponding unbudgeted repair bills for the pumps at the township’s main pump station.

Enhancing Efficiency

The Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) manages regional wastewater service for the Madison, Wis., area, providing wastewater collection and treatment for 43 municipal customers, including cities, villages and utility and sanitary districts. With a total service area of about 180 sq miles, MMSD serves a population of approximately 330,000 and handles an average daily wastewater volume of 42 mgd.

A Hard Rain Falls

Ross Street Station, the main lift station located in the town of Swan River, MB, was constructed in 1975, and by 2012 parts for its original pumps could no longer be easily and readily obtained. Pump components that failed had to be manufactured, which was costly and made for long lead times. During the 2012 Manitoba Summer Games, Swan River received a monumental rainstorm that dumped over 76 mm (approximately 3 in.) of water on the area. The town soon discovered that a motor on the dry side of Ross Street Station had shorted out due to excessive moisture.

First for the Future

New utility projects in the City of Marietta, Ohio, must align with the municipality’s forward-thinking sustainability program—an initiative with the goals of conserving energy, improving water quality and reducing the carbon footprint, labor costs and operating expenses of city facilities.


In from the Storm

The city of El Paso, Texas, stands on the tip of the Chihuahuan desert, and it is not uncommon for a year’s worth of rain to occur in a matter of days during the summer. These rain events have caused serious damage throughout the city for years, and the flooding has always been particularly bad in the Chihuahuita historic district. In 2006, after a 100-year flood, Chihuahuita formed a storm water utility to address the flooding issues and hired an engineering firm, CEA Group, to conduct a drainage study with the goal to reduce the impact of these storm events.

Heartland Heating & Cooling

A $12-million public and private research project—the Nebraska Innovation Campus (NIC) in Lincoln, Neb.—is a combined effort of the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL) and the private sector and aspires to be the most sustainable research and technology campus in the United States. The NIC campus will eventually feature 2.2 million sq ft of building space that will need to be heated and cooled.


Adopting Aeration

Driven by compliance with more stringent water treatment standards, the Fond du Lac (Wis.) Wastewater Treatment Plant leveraged an upgrade opportunity to improve beyond limiting ammonia effluent levels. The plant improved energy efficiency, reduced maintenance and operating costs, and eliminated bypasses into Lake Winnebago during high rainfall.


Contending With Clogs

The City of Hot Springs, Ark., wastewater treatment system serves 23,000 customers and requires the maintenance of more than 600 miles of gravity and force mains. With an eye toward implementing a more proactive maintenance program and addressing issues arising from capacity constraints and aging equipment, the city undertook a comprehensive overhaul of its municipal wastewater infrastructure, including a complete revamp of its Fairwood Lift Station.


Clearing the FOG

The Cypress Creek wastewater treatment plant in Florence, Ala., uses an extended aeration activated sludge process with a design capacity of 20 mgd. Placed into service in 2001, the plant operates at an average daily rate of 10 to 15 mgd. A 40-acre aerated lagoon with an additional capacity of 30 mgd acts as an EQ basin, helping to address inflow and infiltration. Excess flows are contained and returned at a controlled rate to the plant for treatment.

High Desert FOG

The City of Reno, Nev., has long battled the buildup of fats oils, and grease in the wet wells of wastewater lift stations in the valleys within the high desert city. Recently, the city set out to address the problem and reduce the associated costs.


Help for the Hoosier State

A city of 13,000, Auburn, Ind., operates an activated sludge secondary wastewater treatment facility. Located within commuting distance north of Fort Wayne, the municipal utility’s 6-sq-mile service area has historically experienced pronounced peak flows caused by nearly a quarter of its collection system consisting of combined storm water and sanitary sewer lines. Complicating matters, the system’s jet mixing pumps repeatedly clogged, resulting in costly maintenance and aggravated plant employees.


Saying Goodbye to Silt

For almost 50 years, CPS Energy of San Antonio has drawn water from the San Antonio River to recharge Braunig and Calaveras lakes, which the utility built in the 1960s to provide cooling water for its power plants.


Mile-High Aeration

Raw water drawn from deep reservoirs or lakes can acquire undesirable taste and odor and elevated manganese issues, especially in autumn, when seasonal stratification and turnover allow decaying plant and organic residue to reach the lower-level hypolimnion and further deplete already limited oxygen.


Pardon the Interruption

Hidden Valley Lake is a lakeside residential development outside of Lawrenceville, Ind., in Dearborn County. Valley Rural Utilities Company (VRUC) acquired the Hidden Lake service area in 1995 from the homeowners’ association that had assumed control of the sewage system from the subdivision’s developer. The private utility serves a total of 1,945 customers in the service area and anticipates projected growth will add another 1,000 connections.

Project background

Ozark Efficiency

The Adams Field Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in Little Rock, Ark., receives wastewater from 63,000 homes and businesses. Designed in 1961 for primary treatment, the facility was rated at 36 mgd after the addition of secondary treatment in 1972. The plant now handles 70% of the sewage generated within the Little Rock Wastewater Utility service area.