Apr 18, 2017

Kenosha Water Utility Recognized for Energy Efficiency

ACEC’s Grand Award is the top award from the Best of the State Awards

kenosha, acec, water utility, grand water, resource recovery

The Kenosha Water Utility was honored by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) with the Grand Award for its Energy Optimized Resource Recovery Project. The Grand Award is the top award from among the Best of the State Awards given to six projects that represent the highest degree of technical innovation, client satisfaction and contributions to the engineering industry. The awards, given as part of the ACEC’s 2017 Wisconsin Engineering Excellence Awards Banquet held at the American Club in Kohler, Wis., honor projects that demonstrate a high degree of client satisfaction through quality and cost-effective solutions. 

The Kenosha Water Utility set out a progressive goal of a more sustainable wastewater treatment plant.  The plant currently handles more than 22 million gal of wastewater per day and the solids left over from the process had to be loaded onto trucks and hauled away to a landfill. Additionally, the electricity to run the plant increased costs because the facility did not produce its own energy. 

Donohue and Associates developed a plan to address all of these issues. The designs used technologies that had not yet been used in North America including the installation of the PONDUS system, one of a handful in the world. This system delivers a 30% increase in biogas production due to its superior methods in breaking down waste solids. Alongside this system, centrifuges provided by Centrisys Corp. of Kenosha were installed to significantly reduce the amount of water used in the system. This allowed the facility to cut the number of digesters in half, saving money on operations and maintenance costs. Overall, the new process is expected to save the utility in excess of $500,000 per year.

“This design is a great example of integrating innovative technologies into existing infrastructure,” said awards judge Anna Varney, P.E. “Now the main heat energy supply comes from waste heat, biogas is converted into electricity and biosolids are Class A to be used as fertilizer instead of Class B which was previously hauled to a landfill.”

The project was focused on a solution that was both practical and sustainable. Both Donohue and Associates and Centrisys Corp. delivered by using cutting-edge technology that met environmental goals and reusing waste materials to realize extreme cost savings.