Brown and Caldwell Receives National Honors

April 30, 2012
American Academy of Environmental Engineers awards company for planning, design

Brown and Caldwell accepted a pair of grand prizes April 26 as the American Academy of Environmental Engineers recognized the winners of its 2012 Excellence in Environmental Engineering Awards during a luncheon in Washington, D.C.

BC will bring home the 2012 Grand Prize for Planning for the DC Water Biosolids Program and a 2012 Grand Prize for Design for the Lake Oswego Interceptor Sewer.

AAEE also recognized BC and CH2M Hill with a 2012 Honor Award for Design for work on the Brightwater Treatment Plant in Seattle.

Click here for a list of all the winners.

Here’s a closer look at the BC projects:

DC Water

Upgrading DC Water’s 391-million-gal-per-day-capacity Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant is one of the most ambitious environmental plans in the nation’s history.

The $460 million Biosolids Management Program led by the BC team integrates technical, environmental and economic strategies that will dramatically transform the way in which wastewater solids are processed, while protecting and improving the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds.

Extensive research by DC Water staff led to the selection of Cambi thermal hydrolysis process along with mesophilic anaerobic digestion for the program. Cambi will cut digester needs by more than half while producing Class-A biosolids. The new digestion/energy system, using new combustion turbine technology, will generate 13 milliwatts of green, renewable power to supply more than one-third of the plant’s power needs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 40%. This new system essentially pays for itself by reducing biosolids volumes, generating renewable power and reducing operating and maintenance costs. The plan calls for no cost increases for ratepayers.

“I’m extremely proud that DC Water’s visionary project is being recognized for its innovation, problem solving and teamwork,” Perry Schafer, part of Brown and Caldwell’s management team, said. “This project will vastly improve the quality of biosolids produced while reducing risks to DC Water and improving the environment of the Chesapeake Bay area.”

Once completed, the facility will do more with less, producing higher quality Class-A biosolids with multiple reuse options while reducing the overall quantity of biosolids (which, in turn, will reduce hauling and disposal costs and other impacts).

DC Water provides wastewater collection and treatment services to more than 2 million residential connections and a total load equal to nearly 4 million users in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area.

Lake Oswego

The city of Lake Oswego faced a daunting challenge: how to replace an undersized, corroding and seismically vulnerable pile-supported interceptor sewer in its popular lake. Brown and Caldwell developed a most unusual and effective solution—the world’s first buoyant gravity sewer. The centerpiece of the Lake Oswego Interceptor Sewer is a nearly 2-mile reach of buoyant HDPE sewer held safely beneath the lake surface by flexible wire rope tethers fastened to steel ground anchors grouted into solid bedrock beneath the lakebed.

“Persistence, teamwork and client collaboration enabled this once in a lifetime project to succeed,” according to Jon Holland, BC’s project manager.

The buoyant system reduced the use of costly pile supports and the in-lake gravity sewer eliminated the need to build six pumping stations and install nearly twice as much pipe for a land-based system.

Keys to the new system’s 100-year design life include:

  • -Fused, leak-free pipeline joints
  • -Inspection and maintenance access through submerged manholes with removable access caissons
  • -Corrosion-resistant materials
  • -System flexibility that resists seismic forces

The system has performed well since coming on-line in June 2011. Peak wet-weather flows are now accommodated and maintenance has been trouble-free.

The city of Lake Oswego interceptor sewer collects wastewater from a 4,500-acre service area for the city’s 37,000 residents.


The Brightwater Regional Wastewater System in Woodinville, Wash., includes a state-of-the-art advanced wastewater treatment and reclamation facility, 13 miles of underground conveyance pipelines and a marine outfall in Puget Sound. The 39-mgd MBR treatment plant is one of the largest MBR installations in the world. The 120-acre treatment plant site, reclaimed from automobile wrecking yards, has been transformed into a park-like area incorporating streams, wetlands, trails, overlook structures and the Brightwater Education and Community Center.

The Brightwater Treatment Plant is part of King County's regional system that treats wastewater for about 1.5 million people and covers 420 sq miles in the Puget Sound region.

Source: Brown and Caldwell

Image courtesy Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ).
All images courtesy of Ecosorb.