Conference Agenda

Session 03C: Utility Management
Monday, 09/Sep/2019:
3:00pm - 5:15pm

Session Chair: Eric Habermeyer, City of Seattle;
Location: D136

3:00pm - 3:45pm

Adaptive Planning – A Success Story from Coeur d’Alene, ID

Mario Benisch1, Dave Clark1, Mike Anderson2

1HDR, United States of America; 2City of Couer d'Alene, ID;

Over a 15 year time frame the City of Coeur d’Alene worked incrementally towards compliance goals, which at the time were considered beyond the levels of technology. Early on the City approached this challenge through a combination of planning for the worse case while educating regulators and stakeholders as well as conducting applied R&D to develop a more cost efficient compliance strategy.

Justifying millions in dollars for R&D with an uncertain outcome is no small feat for a utility serving just around 50,000, even in light of the over $80 million price tag for the conservative technology solution. However, R&D was as much a means to an end and as it was a vehicle of engagement and a way to extend the compliance schedule through meaningful advances in effluent water quality.

This strategy delivered on all fronts, extending the compliance schedule to 10 to 19 years, shaping the final TMDL towards higher and seasonal vs. monthly limits, and developing a treatment solution that reduced the compliance cost by 30 million. With the flexibility afforded through this approach the final technology solution that was one that was not anticipated or imagined at the start, a tertiary MBR for nitrification and phosphorus removal with chemical sludge again. Today the plant produces effluent quality well beyond what’s required at a fraction of the costs originally anticipated. Finally, despite or perhpas because of these sizabel investment in applied R&D, the City of Couer d'Alene still has one of the lowest sewer rates for faclities with similar and even more lnient effuent requirements.

3:45pm - 4:30pm

30 Ideas In 30 Minutes: Tools To Engage, Motivate And Reassure Your Community

Karen DeBaker1, Stephanie Zavala2, Arianne Shipley2

1Clean Water Services; 2Rogue Water; , ,

Effective communication builds trust, credibility and support for your organization. Messages need to be simple, nimble and meet the audience where they’re at.

The water industry faces a list of challenges related to funding gaps, aging infrastructure, and emerging contaminants. Frustrations arise within industry insiders when they are met with a complete lack of support or financial backing from the public. Water professionals are tasked with effectively communicating the value of water to garner more public support for investment and build credibility and trust in their work.

The human brain is hardwired to process information in story form. In addition, the oldest part of our brain, the lizard brain, drives our gut response to protect our basic needs to survive and thrive above all else. Using this knowledge provides a framework that can be used to craft messages that resonate with our audiences. It reinforces the vital roles of empathy and sincerity in messaging and delivery. The end goal is meaningful impact that lasts beyond the initial interaction and influences behavior change.

In this snappy, round-robin format you’ll receive communication best practices and takeaways curated from three, water industry marketing and communication gurus. Arianne Shipley and Stephanie Zavala founded Rogue Water in 2017. Rogue Water is a public communication consulting company dedicated to moving the communication needle forward in the water industry. Their Water in Real Life podcast interviews guests who are thought leaders, both inside and outside the water industry, offering insight and tools to create more impactful connections and project outcomes. Karen DeBaker navigates the marketing and communications program for Clean Water Services, serving more than 600,000 residents west of Portland, Oregon. She chaired PNCWA’s Communication & Outreach Committee (formerly the Public Education Committee) for 11 years.

4:30pm - 5:15pm

Fanno Basin Pumping System: Reliable Operation after Years of Failures and Setbacks

Bill Ryan, Paul Suto

City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services; ,

The Fanno Basin Pumping System consists of two sanitary pump stations, the first completed construction in 1999 and the second less than 20 years later in 2018. Together these stations can pump over 47 cubic feet per second (cfs), exceeding regulatory capacity requirements for the 4,500-acre Fanno Basin.

The Fanno Basin System history has been somewhat tortuous, primarily because the first pump station and related pressure lines resulted in a black eye with the local community. Design for the original station was completed in 1996 with the intent of replacing five older stations whose capacities were regularly being exceed. The original pump station was located within another agency’s service area and neighbors were against its location from the beginning. Opposition increased after multiple pressure line failures created unacceptable conditions in the surrounding neighborhoods. After over 10 years of operation, the pressure line was replaced and very quickly the new lines exhibited signs of fatigue and required repair. During this design process, it was discovered that the existing station lacked adequate pumping capacity. Enraged neighbors successfully blocked expansion of the existing station through land use issues, causing the City of Portland to construct a separate pump station completed in 2016 on adjacent property.

After two years of flawless operation, the torture appears to be over. In the meantime, we have learned the following hard lessons:

1. Difficulty of estimating flows in a system with high rates of Inflow and Infiltration

2. The pitfall of Value Engineering proposals during the construction stage.

3. How to model and measure transients in a pressure line.

4. The damage caused by transients in a pressure line and the importance of surge protection.

5. The inadequacy of M11 design standards for lines subject to fatigue.

6. Managing a public process when the public distrusts you.