Before Reusing Storm Water, Railway Mitigates Risk With UV Disinfection

Feb. 7, 2018
Treated water is used to wash down coal cars
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Norfolk Southern has a history of nearly two centuries of service that has linked communities and customers to the marketplace of the world. The railway company operates approximately 20,000 miles of rails and serves every major container port in the eastern United States while providing connections to other rail carriers.

Norfolk Southern’s Lamberts Point Coal Terminal is a coal trans-load facility located on the Elizabeth River in Norfolk, Va. The heart of the terminal is Pier 6, where oceangoing colliers are loaded with metallurgical and steam coal used to produce steel and electricity worldwide. Twin tandem rotary dumpers feed the ship loaders for a combined dumping capacity of up to 8,000 tons per hour. The versatility offered at Pier 6 allows the loading of vessels that range in size from small coastwise barges to large capsize vessels.

Challenge

In an effort to continue the model of sustainability and its commitment to environmental stewardship, Norfolk Southern wanted to reuse the water from a storm water pond to wash down coal cars as they are being loaded to control dust. Before reusing the storm water, Norfolk Southern wanted to ensure that potential bacteria in the pond water—such as Enterococci, E. coli, and fecal coliform—would be removed.

Solution

After consideration of a variety of processes, ETS-UV systems were selected because of their proven ability to disinfect wastewater.

Two SW-425-6 systems were selected for this project. The two units, arranged in parallel are preceded by a granular activated carbon system that removes the coal fines and other larger contaminants prior to ultraviolet (UV) disinfection. The UV-disinfected water then is pumped and used for the wash-down of the cars.

The project has enhanced health of the river’s ecosystem by reducing storm water runoff and conserving water. The recycling of this system has reduced its use of municipal water by approximately 1.5 million gal per month.

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“This is the kind of sustainability project that we love to do,” said Blair Wimbush, vice president, real estate and sustainability officer for Norfolk Southern. “It was voluntary, goes beyond government compliance, and has ecological and economical efficiencies.”

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