Public-Private Partnership Pushes City to Forefront of Wastewater Reuse Management
The City of Atlanta and USFilter Operating Services, Inc. (USFilter), a part of Vivendi Environnement, have signed a long-term, $200 million agreement for the development and management of an innovative, city-wide program that will produce Class A biosolids by recycling 90 percent of the wastewater solids and sludge produced by the city's wastewater treatment plants. The reuse program will enable the city to substantially reduce the use of incinerators and generate an environmentally beneficial fertilizer that will be available to Atlanta citizens at no cost for personal, residential use.
The public-private partnership agreement calls for USFilter to oversee a $54 million design and construction phase and then operate and manage the city's wastewater reuse program that will produce and market approximately 100 dry tons per day (dtpd) of Class A biosolids. These biosolids are safe, nutrient-rich organic materials that, when separated from wastewater and processed according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, can be recycled as a fertilizer to improve and maintain soils and stimulate plant growth.
In making the announcement City of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin said, "We are confident this contract will prove beneficial to the City of Atlanta. . . . Though it is a long-term contract, we feel we have all the necessary controls in place to monitor whether or not USFilter is meeting all the terms of the agreement."
The scope of work is multi-faceted. USFilter will manage a design and construction phase of two new biosolids treatment plants -- a 60-dtpd system at the R.M. Clayton Water Reclamation Center and a 40-dtpd unit at the Utoy Creek Water Reclamation Center -- as well as the refurbishment of equipment at the city's four existing wastewater reclamation centers. The new treatment plants will utilize an indirect drying method for wastewater solids designed and manufactured by Segher's Better Technology. During the construction phase, USFilter will operate the city's current waste disposal program that involves the incineration of approximately 60 percent of its waste excess. The rest will be transported to local landfills.
"This public-private partnership will allow the City of Atlanta to maximize the environmental benefits of biosolids," Franklin said. "We are committed to providing our residents a better quality of life in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. City of Atlanta residents living around our wastewater plants will benefit from reduced odors and less truck traffic in their communities. In addition, as a result of recycling we will completely shutdown our wastewater solids incinerators and preserve valuable landfill space."
Following completion of the new Class A biosolids facilities, USFilter will operate and maintain them. Additionally, USFilter will be responsible for the marketing of the Class A biosolids pellets to local agricultural outlets and eventually to commercial users of fertilizer filler or for other high-end users such as on golf courses or plant nurseries.
Franklin added that the biosolids pellets produced from this process will be provided to the residents of the City of Atlanta, free of charge. "Hopefully, we will take advantage of the opportunity to enhance the beauty of our communities by using biosolids to fertilize our gardens, lawns and plants."
This partnership helps establish Atlanta as an industry benchmark when it comes to wastewater reuse, according to Ron Davis, executive vice president and general manager for USFilter Operating Services. "The City of Atlanta is one of the few major U.S. cities to make an innovative and environmentally sound shift from traditional waste disposal to a high-end, comprehensive beneficial reuse program. Working closely with the city, we're combining some of the most advanced biosolids technologies with environmentally sensitive and economically attractive operating approaches to create a program that provides the city with significant economic and environmental advantages," Davis said.
To help implement the program, USFilter will partner with Brasfield & Gorrie and minority-owned businesses Khafra Engineering and Metroplex Industries on engineering and construction services. The facilities will use a number of USFilter technologies including Asdor conveyor systems, J-SPIN(TM) horizontal centrifuges and digesters.
USFilter is the largest biosolids service provider in the United States. The company provides biosolids management services to more than 130 communities and handles approximately 275,000 dry tons per year of dry biosolids and more than 312 million gallons per year of liquid biosolids.