DENVER — The American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE) awarded two of CH2M HILL’s water projects with Excellence in Environmental Engineering Honor awards: the Regional Water Planning Project in Georgia and the Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Plant and System in Washington. The AAEE Excellence in Environmental Engineering Awards recognize and promote quality environmental engineering by selecting projects that demonstrate a comprehensive, integrated approach that considers all environmental media; reflect quality as evidenced by the degree of user satisfaction and proven performance; showcase originality and innovation; address complex environmental problems and situations; and contribute to social and economic advancement.

Regional water planning project in Georgia
CH2M HILL’s Regional Planning in Georgia won the AAEE Excellence in Environmental Engineering Award in the planning category. In 2008, Georgia adopted its first State Water Plan to address a range of issues including increasing water demand, episodic drought, and interstate issues related to shared resources. The $29 million Regional Water Planning Project resulted in implementable plans for all of Georgia’s water planning regions, which will serve as integral parts of the state’s framework for sustainable water management through 2050. The comprehensive project represents the single largest investment in water knowledge in the last 20 years in Georgia. It also is the first attempt by a state on the East Coast to develop a river basin and aquifer resources-based water planning effort.

The project was conducted jointly by AECOM, ARCADIS, Black & Veatch, CDM, CH2M HILL, Jacobs, and Tetra Tech for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. CH2M HILL acted as planning contractor for two of the 10 water planning regions in the Georgia State Water Planning activities. Each water planning region was required to create a 40-year water development and conservation plan to manage the water resources. Created by state law in 2003, the State Water Plan incorporates all the regional plans to create an overall state water management plan. This is one of the only state–sponsored regional water planning processes that integrates water supply and water quality needs.

The CH2M HILL team incorporated innovative technological practices on the project. The water demand forecasting incorporated elements of demand management and conservation. In order to document the linkages between water availability and water quality, water and wastewater management practices were evaluated simultaneously. In addition, the team facilitated Web-based communication strategies to disseminate project information and solicit public comments.

Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Plant and Regional Wastewater System
The Brightwater Treatment Plant was awarded an AAEE Excellence in Environmental Engineering Award in the design category. Brightwater, a new regional wastewater treatment facility near Seattle, will serve the northern portion of King County Wastewater Treatment Division’s service area. CH2M HILL in partnership with Brown and Caldwell led a team of over 20 firms to deliver preliminary design, final design, and services during construction. The Brightwater regional wastewater system 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 36 million-gallon-per-day membrane bioreactor (MBR) treatment plant is one of the largest MBR installations in the world. The 114-acre treatment plant site, reclaimed from automobile wrecking yards, has been transformed into a park-like area incorporating streams, wetlands, trails, overlook structures, and an Environmental Education/Community Center.

To ensure that the county receives maximum long-term benefit, Brightwater’s design incorporates innovative features that will reduce lifecycle costs. These include chemically enhanced primary clarification and cost and energy saving design of the aeration basin blower system. The facility produces Class A reclaimed water for reuse onsite for landscape irrigation, toilet and urinal flushing, and a water feature. Reclaimed water will also be distributed off-site to other users. Biosolids from the treatment plant will be digested and dewatered for beneficial use off-site, primarily through agricultural application.