In the city of Diamondhead, Miss., designing a new wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) meant jumping through some hoops. Constructing the 1.25-million-gal-per-day facility involved relocating the outfall structure, demolishing the existing WWTP and offering temporary facilities for effluent, which, in turn, involved obtaining multiple permits and meeting budgets.
According to Robert Teem, water and wastewater engineer for Volkert Inc., due to compliance with grant funding, which also tightened the budget, the project timeline offered a limited design, construction and validation schedule. The crew had to meet a hard permit deadline for transitioning the discharge point to the Jourdan River.
“The new NPDES permit required outfall discharge be relocated to the Jourdan River by January 2018 or tighter limits would be imposed,” said Teem. “Limits at [the] existing outfall would have required advanced treatment to meet requirements.”
In addition, Volkert Inc., the project designer, performed environmental permitting to maintain compliance with FEMA funding regulations. Volkert needed to coordinate and receive a wetlands determination 24 hours after the submission of the delineation documents.
What’s more, as the WWTP is located next to residential and commercial development, it needed to maintain odor control. Finally, the effluent outfall line was near an archeological site. “Extensive coordination measures were necessary to obtain concurrence from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to adjust the alignment to minimize any potential impacts to this historic site,” Teem said.
Though the project met challenges, the overall outcome was more than satisfactory. Despite scheduling and budget issues, the crews completed the project 51 days ahead of schedule. In addition, the new WWTP is above the flood zone, protecting it from and making it accessible during weather events.
“Being in a coastal region and with the old facility having experienced excessive damage from Hurricane Katrina, the new facility allays those fears,” Teem said. “The old treatment was showing its age, and many equipment componeents were failing and in need of repair/replacement. The new treatment facility offers energy-efficient capabilities along with additional hydraulic capacity to deal with severe peak flow demands.”
The facility was complete May 31, 2017, and continues to operate well.