DENVER — CH2M HILL and its partner Archer|HDR has announced that the Johnson County, Kansas, Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin Wastewater Treatment Plant Solids Improvements Project has earned a National Environmental Achievement Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA).

Winning in the category of operations and environmental performance, the award will be presented at NACWA’s Summer Conference & Annual Meeting on July 21 in San Francisco.

When Johnson County, Kansas, needed to upgrade its biosolids facilities at the Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin Wastewater Treatment Plant, it turned to Archer/CH2M HILL for a cost-effective solution. A key element of the project was the fats, oils and grease (FOG) waste receiving and processing station, designed to operate in a harsh winter environment and support the county’s aggressive FOG waste management program.

The facility will beneficially reuse this energy-rich material and reduce the average miles traveled by FOG waste haulers by at least 40,000 miles annually, resulting in an estimated savings of 8,000 gallons/yr of fuel and a reduction of 80 metric tons CO2e/yr emissions.

The new biosolids facility will combine treatment plant biosolids with food processing and restaurant FOG wastes to create enough methane gas to run two electric cogeneration units, each producing one megawatt of power. The power output will be sufficient to handle most of the plant’s electrical needs at an annual power savings of more than $500,000. Greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 9,700 metric tons in CO2 equivalent emissions annually. The project is one of the largest wastewater cogeneration projects in the state’s history.

Further environmental benefits of the new facilities will include reduced sludge and FOG hauling requirements, as well as additional beneficial reuse of solids as the treated biosolids will be land applied on agricultural fields.

Archer/CH2M HILL was able to assist Johnson County Wastewater in developing a sustainable project that was awarded $17.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 stimulus funding as a green project while creating or retaining more than 270 construction jobs.

NACWA’s Operations and Environmental Performance Award is presented to those member agencies for outstanding initiatives in wastewater treatment plant operations that are both cost-effective and environmentally sound. The award recognizes an innovative and effective project, system or method relating to wastewater treatment plant or collection system operations developed and successfully implemented by an NACWA member in a cost-effective manner while achieving environmental compliance objectives.

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