Time and time again, our clients turn to us to get to the bottom of the most challenging engineering problems. Often this means designing successful solutions without disrupting existing operations. This was the case with the City of Maize’s $5.8 million wastewater treatment plant, which was in dire need of maintenance repairs but didn’t have the option to shut down during construction.
Back in 1998, Maize boasted one of the first Aero-Mod extended aeration plants in existence. Two decades later, this 0.5 million gallons per day (MGD) facility required significant upkeep to ensure the nearly 5,000 citizens of Maize have access to clean, environmentally-safe water. The plant also needed system and process upgrades based on the technological advances Aero-Mod made in the intervening years.
Before initiating the design process, we conducted a plant review to help identify and prioritize improvements that would aid with nutrient removal and reliability, as well as determining the timeframe for a future increase in treatment capacity. This comprehensive assessment helped our team tackle the project’s biggest challenge: identifying the best design solutions that could be implemented without interrupting plant operations. One option – bypassing pump waste and building temporary structures – would have allowed the plant to remain active during repairs and upgrades but carried a sizeable price tag. Based on the projected timeframe for future plant capacity increases, we concluded that the best solution for our client was to invest in permanent structures that would achieve redundant operations.
Working closely with the City, we organized construction sequencing to minimize operational downtime. Phase I of the project, funded by the Kansas Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund, utilized the existing blower system and included a new 0.6 MGD Aero-Mod treatment basin. Our design also included a mechanical belt filter screen in the plant headworks, which greatly reduced the amount of unwanted trash entering the plant and. We created plant interconnections in preparation for Phase II, which will add additional equipment to increase the capacity. Our team also prepared plans and technical specifications assisted with bidding services and provided resident construction observation for the duration of the project.
We’re pleased to report that the City of Maize was able to transfer plant operations from the existing basin with zero operational downtime or the need for costly bypass pumping. MKEC’s design did not increase blower and disinfection capacity, preserving the plant’s existing permitted operating capacity – and shaving more than a year off the project timeline.
Our design means the City of Maize can now increase their permitted capacity with a blower and disinfection upgrade project that can be executed in eight months rather than two years.
–Keith Ayotte, PE, MKEC
Thanks to our commitment to keeping our client’s best interests at the fore, not only was the City able to invest less capital upfront, but our design dramatically lowered the time and money they’ll spend upgrading the plant down the road. Guaranteeing the proper, efficient and environmentally-safe treatment of wastewater is one of the core commitments the City makes to this rapidly-growing community. Delivering on that commitment is what we call engineering success.