Sterling water treatment system wins award — Sterling Journal Advocate

Reverse Osmosis Water Plant
Reverse Osmosis Water Plant

From the Sterling Journal Advocate (Sara Waite):

Last week, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado announced the project was one of four to receive a 2015 Engineering Excellence Award for “outstanding engineering accomplishments.”

The water treatment system came online about a year ago, five years after city received an enforcement order due to levels of uranium and trihalomethanes above the drinking water standard allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency. To address that issue, as well as high levels of sulfate and total dissolved solids, the city opted to construct a new reverse osmosis water treatment plant. The plan featured a challenge because of the uranium — the result of runoff over naturally occuring uranium deposits upstream — that would end up in the treatment brine.

Engineers with Hatch Mott MacDonald came up with a solution: coupling the reverse osmosis system with EPA Class 1 deep injection wells to dispose of the waste water.

“The result enabled the city to meet its water quality goals to provide 14,000 residents with safe, clean and aesthetically pleasing drinking water — and building a 9.6 million gallon per day water treatment plant without incurring the costs and risks associated with the disposal of uranium contaminated waste,” the award announcement states.

The 7,000-plus foot wells pump the contaminant deeper than water that is used for drinking water.

The project was funded with a voter-approved $29 million loan from the Drinking Water Revolving Fund through the Colorado Resources and Power Development Authority.

City Manager Don Saling called the award “quite an honor for the engineers.” He added that the well drilling company has asked to use the wells for a case study.

He said the water treatment system was an example of a “great plan” using “great technology.”[…]

According to the ACEC-CO release, the winning projects are ranked by a panel of judges representing a cross section of industry, academia and media, assemble to rank the submissions on engineering excellence. Projects in the competition are rated on the basis of uniqueness and innovative applications; future value to the engineering profession; perception by the public; social, economic, and sustainable development considerations; complexity; and successful fulfillment of client/owner’s needs, including schedule and budget. The other projects receiving top honors were the Denver Union Station Redevelopment, new Transit Center, and Pecos Street over I-70 Bridge Replacement.

2015 Engineering Excellence award-winning projects will advance to ACEC’s national competition in Washington D.C., which will be held in April next year.

For more information, visit http://acec-co.org.

More water treatment coverage here.

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