For over 40 years, the NAWC Management Innovation Awards competition has been recognizing its members for their groundbreaking and industry changing – truly innovative – ideas. Today’s innovation is tomorrow’s industry standard, and our members are moving water forward through their leadership and work at the forefront of the water industry.
This year, the competition will feature two special categories – one for small companies (less than $1 million GWR) and one for innovations that promote sustainability. Sustainability is commonly defined as the ability to maintain or improve standards of living without damaging or depleting natural resources for present and future generations, and was ingrained as a foundation of environmental law with the signing of the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act.
Otherwise, entries may be in the area of safety, security, administration, finance, engineering, operations, human resources, customer/consumer relations, public relations/information, or any related company activity. And entry must demonstrate how it has made a difference for your company and the people that you serve. This year, judges will evaluate entries on whether they are truly innovative.
Aqua America’s Innovation on a Budget
Facing budget constraints and the need for an upgraded system to overcome the challenge of achieving nitrogen and phosphorus waste load allocations, Aqua America took a fresh look at their Lake Monticello Wastewater Treatment Plant to find a solution that would improve treatment, decrease dependency on credit purchases, and reduce operating expenses.
To reduce the required total nitrogen (TN) credits purchased from the Virginia Nutrient Exchange for the Lake Monticello wastewater treatment facility, Aqua evaluated a retrofit of the existing aeration basins. A dynamic process model was created, calibrated, and validated. Several retrofit alternatives were then simulated to determine the best option with the goal of reducing aeration, chemical, and nutrient credit costs while minimizing capital investment.
The final alternative selection included the addition of pre-anoxic, intermittent aeration, and reaeration zones to each train.
The innovative design concepts Aqua America applied to this project can truly benefit any wastewater utility company that’s anticipating more stringent effluent limitations, looking for opportunities to reduce expenses, or in search of low-cost retrofit alternatives to avoid a costly facility upgrade.