Wright-Pierce, a New England-based water, wastewater and infrastructure engineering firm, earned the Grand Conceptor Award from the American Council of Eng. Cos. (ACEC) of Maine for the innovative upgrade design of the Nokomis Pond water treatment facility in Newport, Maine.
The award is given in the annual Engineering Excellence Awards program, which recognizes engineering projects that epitomize quality, innovation, value and client satisfaction.
The facility is a small treatment system by regulatory standards, which utilizes slow sand filtration as the core treatment process. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disinfectant/disinfection byproduct rules, part of the Safe Drinking Water Act, required an upgrade to the facility to reduce the disinfection byproducts (DBPs) that were compromising water quality.
Wright-Pierce worked closely with the district pilot-testing several treatment alternatives before selecting the MIEX process. The process is a pretreatment system that acts as a supplemental process prior to slow sand filtration to minimize the formation of DBPs and maximize natural color removal by utilizing a unique continuous ion exchange process.
In addition to reducing water contaminants, this process also produces significantly less waste residuals, which is environmentally sound and was an important design consideration because the existing site could not accommodate storage of waste residuals, and waste hauling costs were prohibitive.
The process has significantly improved aesthetic water quality, reducing DBP formation and requiring less use of chemicals for disinfection. The upgrade design successfully integrated the treatment process into the plant's existing hydraulic profile, avoiding incurrence of additional energy costs for pumping. Efficient small motors and EPA Energy Star lighting were also cost-saving design features.