The Upper Blackfoot Mine Complex’s (UBMC) new water treatment system won the 2010 National Design-Build Institute of America’s Private Sector Under $25 Million Design-Build Merit Award. Previously owned and operated by American Smelting and Refining Co. LLC (ASARCO) and now owned by the ASARCO trustee, the UBMC system meets Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) revised discharge limits and regulatory requirements thanks to a CDM-designed innovative water treatment system that delivers 160 gal per minute.
The $4 million project provides a long-term solution to treat acid mine drainage. CDM’s treatment solution—a caustic precipitation and ceramic microfiltration treatment system—meets the new DEQ standards on a continuous basis with a minimum amount of operator attention and is the first full-scale application of this technology for acid mine drain¬age. Despite construction and system start-up challenges, including a remote wilderness setting with severe weather conditions, delayed equipment deliveries, a short construction season and the continued operation of the existing treatment system while commissioning the new system, CDM collaborated with ASARCO, regulatory agencies and its technical and construction team to meet all project goals.
In addition to saving time and money, the CDM design-build team also enhanced the project’s overall value by completing a more robust design and construction for the building and foundation, electrical infrastructure and mechanical components without affecting the project’s timeline or costs.
CDM’s project team also was able to provide less labor-intensive operation and maintenance requirements while meeting the discharge standards for the plant. From the initial concept to completion, an aggressive project schedule allowed the project to be completed in 9.5 months.