Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
Date: Tuesday, 14/Sept/2021
7:00am - 8:00amBreakfast—Tuesday OPERATORS Breakfast (ticket required)
Location: Room 420B
7:00am - 8:00amWassmuth Center Coffee

PNCWA is excited to welcome Dr. Dan Prinzing, Executive Director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights as the keynote speaker for this year's conference.

Join us on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 for a special coffee hour at the Wassmuth Center. Dr. Prinzing will be hosting our group beginning at 7:30am for coffee and a short tour of the center. 

Drip and Cold Brew Coffee will be available beginning at 7:00am from local coffee shop Neckar Coffee.


The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights was founded in 1996 for the purpose of constructing a memorial to human rights.  That vision became a reality when the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial opened to the public in 2002.  The Memorial is a world-class educational park inspired by Anne Frank’s faith in humanity.  A living, vibrant interactive classroom for Idaho’s school children, it inspires people of all ages to contemplate the moral implications of their actions and the scope of their civic responsibilities.

We will be meeting at 7:00am in the lobby of The Grove Hotel and walking to the Wassmuth Center (.8 mile). 




7:00am - 8:30amBreakfast—Tuesday Breakfast
Location: Room 400A
7:00am - 5:00pmSpeaker Ready Room is Open
Location: Room 110C1
7:00am - 6:30pmRegistration Desk is Open
Location: Main Lobby
8:00am - 9:30amSession 07A: Construction & Alternate Delivery/Risk Assessment & Resiliency - Livestream
Location: Room 400BC
8:00am - 8:45am

Changing the Airplane Engine Mid-flight: Best Practices to Manage Construction at Operational Facilities.

Michelle Green

Jacobs, United States of America;

Keeping existing wastewater systems running during invasive construction projects requires precise planning and significant collaboration between designers, contractors and O&M staff. Ignoring the practical realities of system operational constraints and requirements can create headaches for O&M staff, increases the potential for contractor claims and schedule delays and heightens risk of discharge permit violations. Successful projects avoid or minimize operations disruptions and carefully manage critical shutdowns.

A diverse panel of agency staff, engineers and contractors experienced in construction at operating facilities will share insights and experience from their careers. The panel will discuss best practices during both design and construction to prepare for interruptions and interface with existing facilities. Common challenges will be highlighted along with specific activities to avoid gaps and hiccups. Potential topics include:

- Early identification of process constraints

- Successful engagement of O&M staff during design

- Incorporating requirements into contract documents

- Structured processes during construction

- Communication strategies to align parties

8:45am - 9:30am

Assessing Future Coastal Flood Hazards to Water Infrastructure with the Puget Sound Coastal Storm Modeling System (PS-CoSMoS)

Eric E. Grossman1, S.C. Crosby1, B. Tehranirad1, C.M. Nederhoff1, N.R. vanArenonk1, P.L. Barnard1, Shelby Smith2, Clare Fogelsong3

1United States Geological Survey; 2Brown & Caldwell; 3City of Bellingham Public Works;,

VIrtual Speakers

The combination of rising sea levels, changing storm patterns, and greater rainfall intensity in the coming decades is expected to increase the magnitude and frequency of coastal flooding across the Pacific Northwest. Flood hazards and associated impacts are of concern to many coastal utilities who are engaged in planning efforts to protect infrastructure and ensure resilient operations in the future. The City of Bellingham (City) owns and operates the Post Point Resource Recovery Plant (Post Point), which is located on the coast of Bellingham Bay. The City has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to implement the Puget Sound Coastal Storm Modeling System (PS-CoSMoS) to help evaluate risks of storm induced flooding in combination with sea level rise, and to evaluate opportunities for increasing infrastructure resiliency. An initial application of the model is to evaluate potential impacts to the City’s Post Point facility and guide its planning and design.

PS-CoSMoS is developed to evaluate extreme water level recurrence to help federal, tribal, state and local agencies and communities identify impending hazards and inform coastal planning efforts across the Salish Sea into the next century. Flood hazards associated with sea level rise and climate change effects to river floods and storms are computed across the region at 1-meter resolution integrating regionally downscaled global climate models. PS-CoSMoS predicts tides and storm surge with a mean absolute error of 10 cm across 13 tide gages over the period 2018-2019. The model resolves the relative contributions and projected changes of atmospheric pressure anomalies, outer shelf wind effects, interannual ocean dynamics like the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, and local wind setup to extreme water level. Overland flooding and wave setup are modeled with a rapid 2D flow solver and flood extent, depth, duration, and velocities are mapped for several sea level rise scenarios. This presentation will describe the model and its application to the Post Point facility planning and design update.

8:00am - 9:30amSession 08A: Wastewater Process: Deammonification
Location: 110AB
8:00am - 8:45am

Zeolite-anammox Deammonification Of Biosolids Dewatering Recycle Stream: A Public Domain Technology

David Austin, Mark Madison

Jacobs, United States of America;

The Roseburg Urban Sanitary Authority (RUSA) operates an innovative deammonification wetland capable of treating 5,000 gallons per day, of biosolids filtrate that has an ammonia-N concentration averaging nearly 1,000 mg/L. Liquid from solids dewatering can go either to irrigation or deammonification. The purpose of the wetland is to remove ammonia-nitrogen during periods in the spring when irrigation is not feasible. It is the first commercial zeolite-anammox system.

Biosolids generated at RUSA’s WWTP are dewatered in a center screw press Monday-Friday, year-round. The filtrate from this screw press flows to an off-line clarifier and then is batch-loaded to two wetland cells by siphons. Wetland media is clinoptilolite (a zeolite). Beds drain by siphons to a recirculation basin where a pump transfers wetland effluent to the dosing siphons. Beds flood and drain excess water is pumped back to the plant’s aeration basins.

The wetland started in November 2016 and this presentation will focus on discussing the 4 years of operational experience as well as lessons learned. After a year of complete nitrification, the wetland converted to deammonification (anammox). Since then it has averaged 53 percent deammonification, significantly reduced the ammonia recycle load on the WWTP. Performance has been highly consistent in the past three years. Adding alkalinity to maintain pH above 7.0 while in the nitrification phase was crucial to establish deammonification. Once deammonification started, alkalinity demand stopped. However, recent analysis of performance indicates that maintaining a consistent operational pH of 7.5 to 8.0 – which is ideal - may require occasional alkalinity addition.

This technology is simple and non-proprietary and has potential broad application for small to medium size wastewater systems. Flood and drain contact beds were first used in the 1890s. Anammox was first observed in a contact bed in 1902. Recirculation in flood and drain beds is also public domain technology. With careful attention to design loading criteria, construction detail including the zeolite source, and alkalinity addition during the first nitrification phase; this technology is available to utilities to manage recycle streams with high levels of ammonia-N.

8:45am - 9:30am

Sidestream Deammonification MABR Development and Performance in Bench-Scale Reactor Treating Anaerobic Digester Dewatering Centrate

Bryce Figdore


A partial nitritation-anammox (deammonification) biofilm was grown in a bench-scale membrane-aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) treating dewatering centrate from a full-scale conventional mesophilic anaerobic digestion process. Anammox activity developed within 165 days of startup in absence of intentional seeding events or strategies such as seeding from an external enrichment or an integrated second-stage process treating partial nitritation effluent.

Average surficial NH3-N and TIN removal rates were 2.6 and 2.3 g N/m2-d for the 77-day operating period ending September 28, 2020 after anammox growth occurred and stabilized. In-situ anammox activity tests confirmed anammox activity and showed an average anaerobic TIN removal rate of 5.3 g N/m2-d under non-limiting substrate conditions, indicating that aerobic rather than anaerobic ammonia oxidation activity was rate-limiting under operational conditions.

These results suggest that MABR may be a viable deammonification alternative with reduced energy, seeding, and startup requirements compared to established commercial approaches.

Ongoing operations are further evaluating fundamental research questions, optimization strategies, and full-scale engineering implications.

8:00am - 9:30amSession 09A: Resource Recovery - Livestream
Location: Room 430AB
8:00am - 8:45am

Thermal Energy from Wastewater – A New Role of Wastewater Utilities in the New Energy Economy

James McQuarrie

Tetra Tech, United States of America;

The Pacific Northwest has become a key area of North America in the application of thermal enegy from wastewater (TEW) for indoor heating. The combination of GHG goals and buidling code requirements has motivated high-density development to look at its options for geo-exchange type heat pump applications for meeting heating needs but with out main reliance on fossil natural gas. Because of its subteranean proximty to high density development in urban landscapes TEW is increasingly becoming yet another resource to be extracted from wastewater. And hence, a new role is emerging for wastewater utilities to contibute towards a circular economy. In temperate and cold climates most of the residential energy requirement is for indoor heating and hot water.

Tapping into TEW for campus and district scale heating in the built envrionment can can be particularly attractive due to the proximity of interceptor sewers in areas where high-density development tends to occur and the fact that by its nature, wastewater is warm. Traditional ground-source heat pump systems are challenging due to the lack of land area for horizontal systems and the challenges of drilling deep systems in urban settings. While much attention is already given to energy recovery from biogas at Water Resource Recovery Facilities (WRRFs) it is only recently that more attention is being given to TEW. The energy recovery potential from TEW is several times greater than the amount of energy that can be recovered through biogas. In the full submission, the author will provide the audience with knowledge transfer based on case study examples of the technical, financial, and partnership opportunities and challenges that need to be addressed in order to bring a TEW campus or district scale system from concept to reality.

The full presentation will provide an overview of the technical as well as the partnership components that must come together in order to deliver a campus scale TEW system.

8:45am - 9:30am

Truly Sustainable Biosolids Management For a Waste Free Future

Valentino Villa, Elizabeth Bridges, Garrett Benisch

Bioforcetech Corporation, United States of America;

Since its founding in 2013, Bioforcetech has been working to prevent carbon emissions from the wastewater treatment process, and create a valuable product from its solid ‘waste.’ In 2018, 18% of the emissions generated in the United States came from organics breaking down in landfills. While this number alone is overwhelming, it doesn’t even begin to capture the total emissions released during the processes of drying and transporting solids from wastewater treatment.

Our proprietary two step process of drying and pyrolyzing biosolids utilizes our patented Bioforcetech BioDryer and P-Series Pyrolysis machines. These two technologies work together to reduce material volume and weight by 90%, lock available carbon in place for centuries, and produce a clean, valuable biochar at net-zero energy.

The biochar produced from our process is called OurCarbon™, and we’re using this material to develop sustainable replacements for petroleum based materials and to close the loop on waste streams both in the municipalities where our plants are installed and in products that are sold across the country. The Parks Department in the community where our California installation is located has begun incorporating our biochar into their local parks and plantings. Our first suite of products, called Den™, is a set of soil mixes showcasing our biochar as its main ingredient formally called OurCarbon™. Other empirical testing in pigmentation, fabric dyes, paint colorants, and material additives to concrete show promising opportunities to expand the use of biochar into these markets. The promise of this investigation allows us to offer a no-cost biochar off-take agreement to municipal clients with a profit share back to our client for any biochar sales made in profitable applications. At no cost guaranteed, our off take agreement ensures that excess biochar will never be a future issue for our clients.

8:00am - 9:30amSession 10A: Utility Planning - Livestream
Location: 120AB
8:00am - 8:45am

Being “Smart” Is Essential For The Utility Of The Future: Understanding What Is Hard To See In The Data

Kevin Stively

Brown and Caldwell, United States of America;

Virtual Speakers

Utility leaders find themselves caught in a paradox of working within a society that increasingly achieves benefits through smart technologies and the reality that their organizations remain unable to capitalize on large utility data storage across systems often referred to as “dark data.” Bringing this dark data into the light and leveraging past and future investments in digital technologies is essential for effective utility management. Of the nearly 60,000 water and wastewater utilities in the U.S., only a small percentage have tapped into existing data resources to achieve effective utility management.

Today’s utilities are challenged by increasing customer expectations, the need to continuously improve efficiency, loss of institutional knowledge, and managing an aging and complex infrastructure. Managers want to believe technology holds the promise of solving problems and improving service. Yet these same managers find themselves asking questions like, “Is my existing data any good”, “are smart solutions really going to improve my bottom line”, and “do I have the workforce to support more advanced technology solutions”. For many, smart solutions have the appearance of “supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) with a new coat of paint” or something that seems to over promise as many other new ideas have done.

Answering the questions above is possible by taking a phased approach customized to the utility’s vision and digital technology requirements to allow for building confidence in smart utility solutions. A phased approach allows the utility to explore the possibilities of smart solutions on specific use cases testing their efficacy in a practical manner.

Elements of this presentation were featured at 2019 WEFTEC and in a Podcast hosted by Water Online. This paper will present use cases implemented in various utilities using a phased approach that allows the utility to explore the possibilities of smart solutions on specific use cases testing their efficacy in a practical manner.

8:45am - 9:30am

The City of Vancouver Has Reduced Significant Utility Risk and Improved Use of Enterprise Data Through Re-design and Replacement of the Wastewater Control System IT Infrastructure

Jeff Kanyuch1, Frank Dick2

1Jacobs, United States of America; 2City of Vancouver, Washington;,

IT infrastructure is the heart of the control system used for automated monitoring and control of critical infrastructure, including wastewater systems. Advances in IT components and implementation approaches can be applied to provide faster, more reliable control systems with better access to integrated enterprise data to help engineering, planning, and O&M staff better understand and manage their facilities. Correct application requires thoughtful planning and regular upgrade to keep the system functional and reliable.

The City and its contract operations partner, Jacobs, are nearing completion of a major Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system upgrade of the City’s two Wastewater Treatment Plants. The SCADA upgrade included complete redesign of the IT systems at the City’s Wastewater facilities, which has reduced major risk and provided significant value to the City.

The new core network and computer equipment includes virtualized servers with automated backups to reduce physical space and facilitate disaster recovery, ring networks for improved reliability, a DMZ for protected access of shared system data, updated computer hardware with current operating systems and software to accommodate supportability and reliability, and new fiber optic cable infrastructure. The project will also network-connect large Variable Frequency Drive motors for monitoring of voltage and current, and remote resetting of drive failures. The SCADA system will be linked to the computerized maintenance management system to allow work orders to be automatically triggered based on equipment alarms or runtimes from the SCADA system.

Operators can now monitor and control the entire wastewater system from workstations at either treatment plant or from any remote station. Jacobs support staff provide troubleshooting and maintenance via secure remote access, and are notified of problems in real time to provide faster response.

This presentation will include video interviews with plant staff describing what has changed, current operational practices and lessons learned.

8:00am - 9:30amSession 11A: Planning
Location: Room 130
8:00am - 8:45am

Use of Integrated Planning to Facilitate an NPDES Permit Renewal

Raj Kapur1, Tom Dupuis2, Jeff Semigran2, Jody Newcomer1, Ken Williamson1, Bob Baumgartner1

1Clean Water Services, United States of America; 2HDR Inc;,

Virtual Speakers

Wastewater and stormwater utilities face significant challenges to manage aging infrastructure, meet customer expectations, and address regulatory obligations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized that municipalities could more efficiently use their resources to make important, cost-effective environmental improvements that align with community priorities. To support communities in these efforts, EPA released the Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework. Since its inception, Integrated Plans have primarily been used by communities in response to enforcement actions to address combined sewer overflows. More recently, EPA has encouraged the use of Integrated Plans as part of the NPDES permitting process. Clean Water Services has developed an Integrated Plan for submittal with its NPDES permit renewal application. The goal of this Integrated Plan is to establish a long-term permitting strategy to prioritize and schedule actions well into the future to proactively address the challenges it faces. Following EPA’s model, Clean Water Services’ Integrated Plan includes key items like watershed assessment, watershed objectives, challenges, public outreach, and adaptive management. Unlike many other Integrated Plans, Clean Water Services’ plan is not driven by wet weather compliance issues. It therefore provides an example to other utilities that want to use the Integrated Planning framework to establish a long-term permitting strategy.

8:45am - 9:30am

Regionalization for Economic Development and Watershed Protection

Peter Olsen

Keller Associates, Inc., United States of America;

Failing septic systems can be a significant health hazard to both the septic tank owner and downstream residents. Additionally, the amount of land needed for drain fields makes it difficult to attract new businesses and developers. For some communities, their financial situation prohibits the addition of a city sewer system. Moreover, for residents of the North Santiam Canyon region of Oregon, The Three Basin Rule (OR 340-041-0350) makes it even more challenging to convert to a community-based sewer system. This rule prohibits additional surface water discharges to certain rivers, including the North Santiam River, which supplies drinking water to the City of Salem. Add to all this the recent wildfires that devastated this North Santiam Canyon region and bring up additional questions about rebuilding.

A regional solution to address these regulatory and financial issues has gained traction in the past few years. With the support of Marion County and the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments, the communities of Detroit, Gates, Idanha, and Mill City have engaged in discussions regarding the possible incorporation of a regional system sewer system. In January 2017, a regional sewer system feasibility study was completed. A master plan is currently underway, and these entities are in the final steps of establishing a “sewer authority.” This presentation will discuss the difficulty in developing a regional sewer system in this mountainous area, the challenges of creating a sewer authority among the communities, and the steps needed to protect this critically important drinking water source. Added to this will be navigating the planning process during and after the recent wildfires in the canyon.

Technical Areas:

  • Infrastructure funding
  • Wastewater disposal and treatment alternatives
  • Regulatory challenges
  • Regionalization
  • Establishment of sewer authority
8:00am - 9:30amSession 12A: Collection & Conveyance
Location: 410ABC
8:00am - 8:45am

Pump Station Systems Design – How they can vary by Agency

Adam Crafts1, Phil Roppo2

1Murraysmith, United States of America; 2Clark Regional Wastewater District;,

Virtual Speakers

Building on the popular 2019 presentation on pump system curve and pump selection, this presentation will delve into each pump station system, breaking down the wet wells, valving, power service, backup power, pump drives, level sensors, odor control, force mains, and pigging stations. This discussion will be supported by case studies, tying together the lessoned learned for design criteria, material or technology options, reliability and redundancy, permitting, and easement acquisition considerations. Understand Clark Regional Wastewater District and other local agency policy considerations on redundancy, odor control, force main pigging, or control strategy for facilities of varying size and complexity. Attendees will gain an understanding of fundamentals for pump station systems operations and design considerations. Case studies from local agency facilities will be presented to provide real world examples.

8:45am - 9:30am

How the COVID-19 Challenge Illuminated Opportunity Transformational Change With Collection System Maintenance

Jay Boyd

ADS Environmental Services, United States of America;

VIrtual Speakers

COVID-19 (CV19) brought historic disruption to our lives and work. At the onset, wastewater collection systems operations faced exceptional maintenance and safety challenges.

Utilities implemented staff rotations attempting to limit person-to-person contact. Yet, these measures reduced maintenance capacity, affecting essential routines such as cleaning. Adding more stress, sewer-unfriendly objects started to appear in collection systems including “flushable wipes”, face masks and latex gloves. As a result, there was an increase of blockages, SSOs and fouled pumps.

Seeking relief, 83 US utilities leveraged existing flow and level monitoring networks adding new, predictive software for early stage blockage detection. This Internet of Things (IoT) architecture, captured and sent data to cloud-based software where, using machine learning-based analytics, early-stage blockages were identified predictively. Utilities gained weeks-worth of advanced notice enabling them to prioritize their limited O&M resources.

From April to October 2020, 53% of these utilities received at least one notification of a developing blockage. Additionally, none of the monitored sites had SSOs during that time.

Beyond SSO prevention, some utilities creatively applied this predictive IoT technology to determine when to clean. They hypothesized that scheduled cleaning, without the knowledge of actual site conditions, can result in cleaning already clean pipes. To gain site-condition information, utilities used IoT technology to determine when to clean. Three case studies demonstrate how IoT enabled transformational change in the face of sever pandemic-induced challenges. The studies document cleaning reductions of 80% to 87% and with zero SSOs.

These results strongly support the case for employing IoT-based cleaning protocols to fill O&M resource gaps, such as were caused by the pandemic. Furthermore, the results of these studies highlight the opportunity to meet challenges from any circumstance where O&M resources are constrained with the benefit being greater efficiency and lower organizational stress.

8:00am - 9:30amSession 13A: WateReuse: Planning & Partnerships
Location: Room 420A

Virtual Speakers

8:00 am to 8:45 am

Sharon Napier & Ashley Harper

The National Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP) and what it means for the Pacific Northwest

The National Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP) adopts a proactive approach to strengthening the security, sustainability, and resilience of our nation’s water resources. It builds on more than four decades of water reuse expertise and promotes a growing collaboration among federal, state, local, and private sector reuse efforts. The first iteration of the WRAP was released in February 2020 and included over 80 partners who reflect a diverse cross section of the water user community.

The WRAP collaborative continues to grow through the addition of new partnerships and actions that address challenges and barriers and fulfill state, tribal, and water sector needs related to water reuse. More than 100 organizations are currently driving progress on over 40 actions across 11 strategic themes (e.g., finance support, policy  coordination, integrated research) which demonstrate the meaningful advancements that action leaders and partners have made across the sector. Progress on action implementation is highlighted through the WRAP Online Platform, which promotes transparency and accountability by reflecting the current implementation status for all WRAP actions.

The success of the WRAP is directly tied to contributions and collaborations from members of the water community. Ultimately, the effort seeks to ensure that water reuse is accessible, straightforward to implement, and sensitive to local needs.

This session will focus on WRAP progress that addresses barriers to reuse across a range of topics including technical, institutional, and financial and will demonstrate cross-action collaboration, identify potential gaps, and exemplify the evolving nature of the WRAP. The session will also recognize and highlight the diversity of action leaders and partners and invite involvement from participants.

A standing goal of the WRAP is to enhance and grow partnerships across the water user community to facilitate integrated action and daylight progress and examples of water reuse.

8:45 am to 9:30 am

Nick Smith, Jacque Klug and Holly Tichenor

State focused partnerships towards advancing reuse in Idaho, Oregon and Washington 

This session will focus on showcasing results form a series of three professionally moderated workshops held in each state (Idaho/Oregon/Washington) with industrial, agricultural, utilities and municipal reuse stakeholders.  The workshops provided opportunities for the participants to network and share various needs and challenges including operational and maintenance, permitting/regulatory, funding and public perception concerns.  The workshops culminated in a series of recommended actions for WRA-PNW teams and interested groups from each state.  These action items are part of an overall effort to support operators, policy makers, utility manager and interested parties involved in water reuse as a water.

9:30am - 10:30amBreak on Exhibit Floor Tuesday Morning
9:30am - 10:30amExhibit Tours
Location: Exhibit Hall
10:30am - 12:00pmSession 07B Planning
Location: Room 400BC
10:30am - 11:15am

City and County Collaboration – Solving Wastewater Concerns Together

Eric Roundy1, Kyle Meschko1, Dennis Weed2

1Keller Associates, Inc., United States of America; 2Boundary County, United States of America;,,

11:15am - 12:00pm

Investigating Nitrogen Removal Strategies to Reduce Carbon Footprint

Lindsey Smoot, Erik R. Coats

University of Idaho, United States of America;

10:30am - 12:00pmSession 08B: Wastewater Process
Location: 110AB
10:30am - 11:15am

Designing your Plant for Electrical System Reliability

Oskar Agustsson1, Jim Howard2

1HDR; 2LOTT Clean Water Alliance;

Virtual Speakers

A disruption to treatment plant operations can cause a cascading impact to a utilities’ operation as well as the potential for devastating impacts to the environment. However, as with any infrastructure, maintenance must be performed to ensure the long-term reliability of equipment. Electrical systems maintenance is a key aspect of maintaining the overall integrity of your system, but with it comes the risk of a potential disruption to the treatment process.

Maintenance is often not performed on treatment plant electrical systems because most systems do not allow for a partial shutdown of the electrical system without impacting the biological process and/or cutting off electricity to the entire plant. This ultimately leads to unreliable power and the risk of needing to repair or replace electrical equipment and systems at unpredictable intervals.

This presentation will focus on “safety by design;” how plant electrical systems can be designed to ensure maintenance without disruptions to the treatment process and how electrical system maintenance can be performed in a de-energized state. Case studies from LOTT Clean Water Alliance electrical improvements over the past decade will be used as examples in these concepts.

The presentation will cover a brief history of treatment plant electrical systems; how to perform electrical system assessments; which maintenance practices should be implemented on treatment plant electrical systems; and how and why to track your electrical system assets as part of an asset management program.

11:15am - 12:00pm

Advancing CSO Treatment – Piloting of OVIVO® RapidStorm™ Membrane Treatment

Bob Bucher1, Mike Snodgrass2, Marcos Lopez3, Scott Weirich4, Pardi Sukapanpotharam1, Pedro De Arteaga1, Ashwini Khare2, H.C. Liang3, Doug Berschauer4, Jessica Tanumihardja1

1King County Wastewater Treatment Division, Seattle, WA; 2Ovivo, Round Rock, TX; 3Tetra Tech, Inc., Seattle, WA; 4Parametrix, Seattle, WA;

Virtual Speakers

King County and project team identified a new technology for treating CSO discharges. The technology (RapidStorm manufactured by OVIVO®) uses silicon carbide (SiC) membranes in conjunction with the addition of a chemical coagulant. A pilot project was conducted at the County’s West Point treatment facility.

The RapidStorm pilot unit supplied for testing included SiC membranes plates arranged in three stacks installed in a 28-foot-long by 8-1/2-foot-wide by 17-foot-tall steel tank. Ancillary equipment included permeate / backwash pumps, coagulant feed system, a chemical cleaning system, air scour blowers, online instrumentation, and remote communication hardware. The pilot received feed flow from the West Point Treatment Plant primary effluent channel and supplemented with fire hydrant water, as testing required, to simulate lower strength CSO influent.

Process and performance testing objectives for the pilot study included documenting water quality performance and providing a basis of design for full-scale project planning. Water quality was monitored through online instrumentation, grab sampling, and composite sampling during multiple test runs. Process and performance testing was initiated in September 2020 with a total of sixteen test runs completed by the end of November 2020.

The pilot was successfully tested at an average instantaneous flux rate of 100 gallons per square foot per day (gfd), a peak instantaneous flux rate of 200 gfd, and under a simulated CSO hydrograph without exceeding the maximum transmembrane pressures of 10 pounds per square inch (psi). A flux rate of 100 gfd in the pilot was equivalent to approximately 300,000 gallons per day of treatment capacity.

Effluent water quality results were favorable with total suspended solids (TSS) less than 5 mg/l, turbidity less than 0.1 NTU, and fecal coliform count consistently less than 400 MPN / 100 ml without supplemental disinfection.

The development of new innovative technologies such as the one tested in this project have the potential to reduce the receiving water impacts from CSO, SSO and even stormwater discharges.

10:30am - 12:00pmSession 09B: Climate Science & Stormwater - Livestream
Location: Room 430AB
10:30am - 11:15am

Pinpointing and Prioritizing I&I Impact with Climate Change

Brogan Quist1, Mike Fritschi2

1SmartCover Systems, United States of America; 2South Suburban Sanitary District, OR;,

The Klamath Falls South Suburban Sanitary District encompasses roughly 10 square miles and serves a population of approximately 25,000 people in Klamath Falls, Oregon. SSSD owns and maintains over 100 miles of sewer pipe and over 1000 manholes. Most of the sewer mains were installed in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

One of the key focus areas for SSSD is the management of Inflow and Infiltration (I&). Excessive I&I can overwhelm a collection system’s capacity creating overflows. Climate change indicates more severe weather in the future. These changing weather patterns and frequency of severe weather is more and more relevant to sewer operators. I&I increases wastewater treatment plant flows unnecessarily increasing treatment plant processing costs.

SSSD started monitoring in 2012 by installing four initial monitoring units for a cost of $50,000 but, when the need arose for expanding our efforts to more locations, they required a more flexible, easy-to-install and cost-effective solution.

To address I&I monitoring expansion plans, SSSD designed a smart sewer system with SmartCover technology.

By leveraging SmartCover patented design and deployment, SSSD has been able to both expand I&I monitoring and enhance the granularity and detail of information compiled. SmartCover flexibility has proven to improve existing I&I monitoring processes at a much lower cost than the alternatives. Deployment is turnkey because no confined entry is required, allowing a collection system to get up and running fast without a lot of wasted staff time or traffic management.

SmartCover customized the solution to aggregate flow information from multiple locations, thereby enabling more flexibility to analyze relationships between sites and to better understand the dynamics within sub-basins.


It is anticipated that ROI on the first round of SmartCover deployment will yield better information on I&I and provide a more refined capital improvement decision making process, while also controlling costs and enhancing usage of valuable staff and resources.

11:15am - 12:00pm

And the Rains Came: Characterizing Rainfall for Climate Impacts

Nathan Foged1, Sierra Gawlowski2

1Brown and Caldwell, United States of America; 2City of Shoreline, Washington, United States of America;

Virtual Speakers

Prolonged wet weather and extreme storms can overwhelm drainage systems, cause urban flooding, or potentially lead to uncontrolled discharges of contaminated waters. While we understand these as potential impacts, quantitative risk-based analyses can be challenging given the natural variability of rainfall and the uncertainty associated with changing climate conditions. As the City of Shoreline (Washington) plans for a resilient future, the Surface Water Utility has recently compiled and analyzed precipitation data to create a library of rainfall time series and design storm events for use in stormwater planning and design studies. These data include observed storm events, updated intensity-duration frequency curves, and synthetic design storms—based on both historical conditions and adjusted for future climate conditions. This presentation will not only describe the development of these data, but also discuss appropriate use, uncertainty ranges, and how results should be interpreted for stormwater management decisions.

10:30am - 12:00pmSession 10B: Utility & Assessment Management - Livestream
Location: 120AB
10:30am - 11:15am

Strategic Planning to Define the 4P’s – People, Policies, Pricing, and Projects

Matt Gregg

Brown and Caldwell, United States of America;

Projects – the first of the 4P’s and the typical focus for utility planning efforts. Planning efforts usually being with a similar question: what things do I need to build to solve my problem? Whether it be a new pipeline to serve a new area, a new tank to replace a failing tank, or maybe a whole new facility to provide more capacity in the system, we have used planning simply as a means to define a capital improvements program. However, utilities are much more than just projects and infrastructure. They are dynamic, thriving organizations that embody they communities they serve. In our drive to define the physical projects we need to complete we have lost sight the ways utilities truly interact with their communities – through their people, policies, and pricing.

Robust strategic planning efforts should strive to define all of the components that will allow them to enact their outcomes. This requires focus on PEOPLE and organizational roles, POLICIES and business processes, PRICING and financial strategies, and PROJECTS. Each of the 4P’s is critically important to define for a plan to be successfully implemented. Doing so requires a commitment from utilities to define a broader scope for strategic planning efforts.

This presentation will highlight the recent successes of several northwest utilities in defining each of the 4P’s in their strategic planning efforts. This will include a discussion on how each of the 4P’s was investigated and how changes were enacted by the utility to support the implementation of the strategic plan. It will draw on these projects to highlight lessons learned and best practices for utilities looking to implement similar efforts for their next planning effort.

11:15am - 12:00pm

Boise City’s Integrated Plan for Long-term IPDES Permit Compliance

Kate Harris1, Tom Dupuis2, Haley Falconer1

1City of Boise; 2HDR;,

The City is committed to providing effective and affordable water renewal services that protect public health and the environment, meet customer expectations, and support long-term community planning efforts. To this end, the City has made considerable investments to construct and maintain these assets. These investments include upgrading water renewal capabilities, optimizing collection system maintenance and renewal efforts, and improving conveyance (i.e., lift stations) facility performance.

Notwithstanding these significant efforts, the City continues to face aging infrastructure needs, increasingly complex water issues, and growing service demands. There are a number of current and future Clean Water Act (CWA) regulatory drivers that will require major capital investments and impact financial and management resources. The City is concerned that potentially overlapping compliance timelines for multiple federal and state regulatory drivers will limit their ability to efficiently manage resources and make system improvements difficult going forward. The City needs an approach for managing the largest capital investments such as one period being when the City does some asset management to complete regulatory upgrades alternating with a second period being when the City focuses on asset management and regulatory conditions remain status quo. Condition driven projects, including asset management, are fundamental to meeting regulatory requirements, thus the need for this managed approach.

The regulatory framework for an IP was developed and adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2012 and was recently incorporated into the Clean Water Act via the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act passed by bipartisan action in Congress in 2018 and signed into law in January 2019. The IP framework explicitly recognizes that appropriate long-term planning for most municipal utilities needs to extend beyond the traditional five-year duration of a discharge permit. The City’s Utilities Plan extends out 20 years and beyond, and funding, design and construction of new or upgraded facilities cannot be reasonably achieved in 5 years or less. The IP provides a mechanism for both the City and DEQ to look at a longer horizon and be adequately prepared for needed requirements and employ an adaptive process to address new or emerging water quality considerations.

10:30am - 12:00pmSession 11B: Industrial Pre-Treatment
Location: Room 130
10:30am - 11:15am

Trading Futures for Long Position on BNR Performance

Austin Walkins1, Tyson Schlect2

1City of Boise; 2HDR;,

Wastewater Recovery Facilities (WRRFs) can leverage permitting, integrated planning, and water quality trading to stabilize biological nutrient removal (BNR) performance. Collection system industrial inputs affect BNR at WRRFs. A renewed emphasis on states’ involvement in Clean Water Act regulation has stimulated efforts to establish innovative sewershed nutrient management strategies. Water quality trading has been documented by EPA since the early 1990’s, but recent emphasis has led to consideration of pretreatment trading in the context of nutrient management at the WRRF. Integrated planning is a final piece of the puzzle, having recently been added to federal law as an amendment to the Clean Water Act.

Pretreatment allocations for discharge to a WRRF have the potential to de-stabilize otherwise robust BNR systems. The West Boise Water Renewal Facility (WBWRF) received high nitrate concentrations through a long collection main, allowing for depletion of readily biodegradable carbon. The resulting impact at WBWRF was a severe diurnal variation in raw influent volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration, with typical levels of 23 mg/L VFA at midnight and 4 mg/L VFA at 11:00AM. This effect was verified through a robust collection system sampling effort which captured diurnal phosphorus and nitrogen species concentrations at strategic points in the collection system, showing correlation with periods of decreased VFA. The collection system nutrient study also characterized transformation of nutrient species, so that collection system kinetics could be quantified and modeled as a “plug-flow” reactor system in which nitrogen, phosphorus, and VFA species change over time. The study provided further context for implementing a successful pretreatment program.

This effort was paired with a pretreatment trading evaluation. H.R. 7279 amended the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to allow permitting authorities to incorporate integrated planning into renewed permits. The scope of the amendment highlights pretreatment trading in which the permitted WRRF administers a trading program for industrial users. The City undertook an evaluation which showed that trading of nitrogen and phosphorus credits in an exchange open to industrial users could potentially result in net economic benefit while reducing the nutrient headworks loading faced at the WBWRF.

11:15am - 12:15pm

Development of Facility-Specific Zinc and Copper Nitrification Inhibition Thresholds for Local Limits Analysis

Leila Barker, Rajeev Kapur, Ana Aranda, Mercie Hodges, Steve Anderson

Clean Water Services;,

VIrtual Speakers

Controlling industrial discharges to a Publicly Owned Treatment Work (POTW) is an integral part of the NPDES permit program. POTWs conduct a local limits analysis to establish limits for industrial users. Factors that are considered in this process include water quality standards, water quality-based NPDES permit effluent limits, biosolids use and disposal, and the potential for inhibition of biological processes within the treatment plant. Nitrifying bacteria are often highly sensitive to environmental stressors and pollutants, and local limits are frequently driven by the need to protect the biological nitrification process.

The U.S. EPA has published nitrification inhibition threshold values for a variety of substances in its Local Limits Development Guidance (EPA, 2004). For many substances, a wide range of possible inhibition levels have been identified. However, because these data are decades old and studies are not well documented, there is limited confidence that even the most conservative thresholds would be protective of biological treatment processes. Additionally, use of the most conservative values can result in overly stringent local limits that place a significant burden on industrial users.

Clean Water Services (CWS) is in the process of revising local limits for its four wastewater treatment facilities (WWTFs). Three CWS facilities have ammonia limits and rely on nitrification to meet these limits. Copper and zinc were of particular interest due to prior operational data. Preliminary analysis suggested that local limits for these metals would likely be driven by the nitrification inhibition threshold. At times, CWS WWTFs have experienced copper and zinc levels higher than the minimum threshold concentrations in the EPA Guidance with no discernable impact to the biological processes.

In order to establish site-specific inhibition levels, CWS conducted nitrification rate testing using two methods: a modified version of ISO 9509:2006 and a simplified respirometry protocol. Biomass from the three nitrifying WWTFs was spiked with varying concentrations of zinc and copper. Results were analyzed to determine nitrification inhibition thresholds. The resulting facility-specific nitrification inhibition levels were higher than the EPA-published minimum thresholds for both metals while providing confidence that local limits would be protective of biological nitrogen removal processes at each WWTF.

10:30am - 12:00pmSession 12B: Collection & Conveyance - Pumping Systems
Location: Room 410ABC
10:30am - 11:15am

Decoding Water Hammer: Comparing Real Measurements With Modeling Predictions

Brandon Billing

Brown and Caldwell, United States of America;

Virtual Speakers

Transient pressures can cause significant damage to force mains and pumping systems, leading to pump station down-time, sewage overflows or water loss, and costly repairs. Numerical modeling can help address the issue, but results can be difficult to understand or implement correctly. This presentation will use three case studies to explain water hammer and how numerical modeling helps to avoid problems with transient pressures in pumping and pipeline systems.

In the first case, an existing sewage force main experienced pressure damage. After monitoring data confirmed hydraulic transient presence, numerical modeling identified that installing a surge tank at the pump station would be the most effective mitigation strategy. Following the installation of the tank, field measurements closely agreed with pressures predicted by the modeling.

In the second case, monitoring equipment detected transient pressures during the startup of a new pump station. Using field measurements to calibrate a numerical model of the system, the team determined that the addition of flywheels on the pumps would address the issue. Field measurements closely agreed with pressures predicted by the modeling following the flywheel installations.

In the third case, a numerical modeling study performed during design led to a recommendation to install surge tanks at the pump station. Transient pressure measurements obtained during pump station startup closely agreed with those predicted in the numerical modeling study.

This presentation will detail the convincing evidence that transient pressure numerical modeling is a critical step for developing resilient force main and pumping system designs. Numerical modeling provides reliable data for developing a surge mitigation strategy and reliably assess when a surge mitigation strategy is successful.

11:15am - 12:15pm

Challenges and Opportunities Presented by Diversion Pump Stations

Mike Carr1, Frank Dick2, Jeff Hart3

1Murraysmith, United States of America; 2City of Vancouver, WA; 3Clean Water Services;,,

When sewer trunk systems reach capacity, agencies occasionally elect to install a pump station to pump past the bottlenecks rather than upsize the line or build a parallel pipe. This is typically due to the higher capital expense of a trunk sewer caused by environmental mitigation requirements, pipe depth, and traffic disruptions. On the upside, constructing a diversion pump station can often be the more expedient way to meet upstream development demands or reduce risk of overflows. Conversely, a diversion pump station also provides new challenges for Operations through increased maintenance time and cost. However, the facility can also offer flexibility to an agency’s overall operations, providing opportunities to address operational concerns elsewhere in the system through automation, flow control, and redirection of flow to underutilized infrastructure in the conveyance and treatment facilities.

This presentation will provide two recent case studies in diversion pumping: the City of Vancouver’s Burnt Bridge Creek Pump Station, a 7-mgd diversion pump station that was mothballed 20 years ago because of maintenance-related issues; and Clean Water Services’ Dawson Pump Station, a 20-mgd facility built to increase conveyance capacity for supporting industrial growth, hampered by constituents in the industrial wastewater. Discussion will include the projects’ origins, the operational issues encountered along the way, the solutions engineered to optimize the facility’s operation, and the opportunities to use the diversion to further improve overall conveyance system performance and reliability.

10:30am - 12:00pmSession 13B: WateReuse: Hopping Over Hurdles
Location: Room 420A

Virtual Speakers

10:30am - 11:15am

Pat Heins, Shawn McKone, and Tressa Nicholas

So you need a permit in the Pacific Northwest…now what?

Regulators from Idaho, Oregon and Washington will discuss the steps for obtaining a permit to use recycled or reclaimed water in their state.

11:15 am - 12:00 pm

Jay Irby

Water Reuse: Waste of Time or Innovative Opportunity?

21 years ago, a small community located just North of Boise decided to lay down some roots. 7 years later, another planned community sprang up. As we all know, there are some rather large obstacles immediately North of Boise that create some interesting infrastructure challenges that would be far too costly for these small communities to encumber. As luck would have it, there was an option. Hidden Springs and Avimor both made a bold decision to build and operate their own wastewater renewal facilities and find beneficial uses for the renewed water onsite as opposed to piping several miles and lift stations to the nearest municipal treatment plant or becoming point source dischargers. These decisions created incredible growth potential as it allowed the communities to reduce treatment costs for their residents, it allowed builders to build without exorbitant connection fees, and it helps keep irrigation costs low because they didn’t have to purchase irrigation water from the municipal supplier. This presentation will take a look at the current situations for both of these communities, some lessons that have been learned over the years, and provide insight for any engineers or operators looking to pursue reuse, and how both parties should work together to accomplish the needs of their constituents.


12:00pm - 1:15pmLunch—Tuesday Business Luncheon
Location: Room 400BC
1:15pm - 2:45pmSession 14A: Resource Recovery/Collection & Conveyance - Livestream
Location: Room 400BC
1:15pm - 2:00pm

Full-scale Digester Micro-Aeration Study to Reduce Hydrogen Sulfide in Biogas

Bart Kraakman1, Terri Prather2, Matt Noessen1, Matt Kennelly2

1JACOBS, United States of America; 2LOTT Clean Water Alliance, United States of America;

Biogas generated from anaerobic digestion typically requires gas conditioning before it is used to generate energy. The H2S concentrations in the digester gas at the Budd Inlet Treatment Plant typically range from 950 to 1,050 ppmv, which is approximately double the average inlet design concentration of the existing H2S removal system, resulting in increased O&M costs.

Full-scale piloting of micro-aeration technology (MA) was undertaken to test its feasibility to reduce H2S from the biogas, as limited experience is available of this new technology in full-scale digesters at wastewater resource recovery facilities (WRRF). The full-scale tests were undertaken during a one-year period under different configurations and generated the following findings:

  • Reducing the H2S concentration to 200 ppmv (or a removal efficiency of approximately 80 %) is technical feasible in the current digesters.
  • Injecting micro-aeration air in the sludge heating recirculation stream is more effective than injecting in the bottom of the digester.
  • Measuring the ORP of the sludge continuously was reasonably successful after several installation modifications, but is not recommended for MA process control because of accumulation of debris on the ORP sensor requiring frequent (daily) cleaning.
  • The biogas production and sludge volatile solids reduction are not negatively affected by the MA process, while there is some evidence that the dewaterability of the digested sludge may slightly increase as a result of micro-aeration.

In summary, the full-scale pilot tests showed that this new process-integrated MA technology has potential using minimum plant upgrading while contributing to the sustainability and economic efficiency of the energy recovery process of waste sludge digestion at WRRFs.

2:00pm - 2:45pm

Clackamas Water Environment Services and the City of Gladstone Oregon – Joining Forces in the Fight Against I/I

Jessica Rinner

Clackamas Water Environment Services, United States of America;

Clackamas Water Environment Services (WES) completed a collection system master plan (CSMP) in 2019. One of the findings of the CSMP is that it is more cost effective system wide over the next 20 years to reduce I/I in 19 key basins rather than increase the conveyance and treatment capacity of the system to accommodate the extraneous wet weather flows. The collection system is comprised of multiple jurisdictions or member communities as well as WES owned infrastructure. Every jurisdiction contains a basin in which it was found to be more cost effective to reduce I/I rather than increase the downstream system capacity.

WES and the City of Gladstone (City) both have jurisdiction over portions of the collection system within the 19 key basins, and have immediate capacity needs to reduce the I/I. The good working relationship between WES and the City made it possible for the two entities to establish an IGA and enter into a contract with a consulting engineering firm to address the I/I in both jurisdictions simultaneously. The consulting contract will identify the sources of the I/I and design rehabilitation projects to remove it.

The joint project provides efficiency and cost savings to both of the partner entities. Project management costs are reduced since there is only one project not two. There is economy of scale and reduced mobilization costs when combining the field investigation activities. There are cost savings in the designs when applying the same standards across multiple sets of construction documents. These are just a few of the financial benefits of working together for a common goal.

The I/I identification activities are currently underway and should be completed in June 2021. At that time, the project will move into the phase of designing rehabilitation projects to remove the I/I identified. It is anticipated upon completion of the designs each partner will bid out their own construction projects.

1:15pm - 2:45pmSession 15A: Wastewater Process: Nutrient Removal
Location: 110AB
1:15pm - 2:00pm

Planning for Nitrogen Removal in King County

Matt Winkler1, Rick Kelly1, Patricia Tam1, Eron Jacobson2, John Conway2

1Brown and Caldwell; 2King County WTD;

Virtual Speakers

The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) has been evaluating the impact of nitrogen on dissolved oxygen concentrations in Puget Sound for over a decade. More recently, Ecology has taken steps towards implementing nitrogen limits on wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) that discharge into Puget Sound, and has begun to implement nitrogen load action levels on WWTPs as part of a nutrient general permit process that would trigger sequential tiers of nitrogen removal upgrades. King County operates three large, regional WWTPs (West Point, South Plant, and Brightwater) that discharge directly into Puget Sound. To better understand nitrogen removal options, costs, and other impacts, King County completed an evaluation of the potential for implementing various nitrogen removal options at these three WWTPs.

To evaluate nitrogen removal potential at the different facilities, pre-screening of over twenty different nitrogen removal, sidestream treatment, and intensification technologies was first completed, considering cost, nitrogen removal capabilities, greenhouse gas emission (GHG) potential, and other screening criteria. Then, pre-screened technologies were evaluated for various nitrogen removal scenarios for each facility, such as adding sidestream treatment only or meeting a range of seasonal or year-round effluent total inorganic nitrogen targets.

Potential conceptual site layouts and sizing for the alternatives for each scenario were developed based on modeling with calibrated process simulators. The results were used to identify a range of potential capital/operating costs, footprint requirements, and GHG emissions for each nitrogen removal scenario. In general, the results showed that capital/operating costs, GHG emissions, and footprint increase as the level of nitrogen removal increases, with some exceptions. The results also demonstrated that all three WWTPs have potential footprint limitations for nitrogen removal. This presentation will discuss the methods and results for the various effluent nitrogen removal scenarios for each of the three WWTPs.

2:00pm - 2:45pm

Construction, Commissioning and Start Up of the World’s First Advanced Biological Nutrient Recovery (ABNRTM) Facility at the Village of Roberts, WI

Jordan Lind

CLEARAS Water Recovery, United States of America;

Virtual Speakers

As wastewater treatment facilities face the challenge of selecting long-term and cost-effective solutions to meet more stringent discharge permit requirements, resource recovery has become a vital component for consideration. This presentation will highlight the construction, commissioning, and startup of the world’s first Advanced Biological Nutrient Recovery (ABNR™) by the Village of Roberts, WI to meet their ultra-low-level total phosphorus discharge limit of 0.04 mg/L.

Prior to integration of ABNR, the Village of Roberts utilized alum for chemical phosphorus removal to meet a discharge limit of 1.0 mg/L total phosphorus. To meet compliance, Roberts explored source minimization, facility optimization and performed a centrate evaluation, only to achieve 0.41 mg/L. Further exploration of facility modifications, led to piloting cerium chloride, ultra-filtration and ABNR. CLEARAS ABNR was the clear choice in consistently meeting future limits.

The Roberts ABNR facility is designed for 0.150 MGD and 4.0 mg/L TP. ABNR allowed the facility to leverage existing infrastructure and eliminate upstream chemical phosphorus removal resulting in cost savings. The flexibility of ABNR has also given Roberts the opportunity to plan for increased nutrient loadings from a future septage receiving program with a phased approach. See Figure 1.

Resource recovery has become critical to the wastewater industry and the CLEARAS process integrates the core principles of this concept. ABNR maximizes existing treatment infrastructure, extends the life of existing assets, allows for optimization of secondary treatment processes resulting in cost savings and residual algae-based sales. ABNR is a sustainable solution that enables wastewater treatment plants to transition to resource recovery facilities. In addition to the Roberts, WI project, ABNR has been pre-selected for three additional full-scale projects (two in WI and one in UT) which will be constructed in 2021 – 2022.

1:15pm - 2:45pmSession 16A: Facility Operations & Lessons Learned - Livestream
Location: Room 430AB
1:15pm - 2:00pm

Remotely Designed: Lessons Learned Designing during a Pandemic

Oskar Agustsson1, Kip Summers2

1HDR; 2LOTT Clean Water Alliance;

Virtual Sessions

This presentation will share lessons learned from the design of a complex WWTP upgrade project performed during the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing all parties to work remotely. It showed the importance of existing project management tools and the development of additional tools. In March of 2020, HDR was contracted to design and install new turbo blowers at the LOTT Clean Water Alliance Martin Way Reclaimed Water Plant. Due to stay-at-home” orders our team quickly pivoted to advancing the project with the use of remote tools to facilitate collaboration and communication among consultant team members as well as LOTT staff. Clear meeting topics and agendas are always key to project management and even more so with remote or virtual connections. The presentation will include a discussion of the following elements which contributed to this project’s success:

  • Data gathering up front such as 360-degree photographs were taken and linked on a site plan at the beginning of the project which allowed for the design team to go on “virtual plant walks” to orient themselves.
  • As Built Verification relied on plant staff, that was already on site to operate the plant.
  • Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) scanning eliminated the need for continual visits to the plant for field measurements.
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM) used in conjuncture with LiDAR minimized known conflicts with field conditions.
  • Succinct presentation materials to ensure clear sharing of project details and decision making.
  • Polling features on virtual platforms was useful during meetings and helped project stakeholders make key decisions by guiding the conversation about what the Owner stakeholders agreed on and what needed further discussion.
  • Documentation with traditional meeting minutes, decision logs, comment logs.
  • Virtual pre-bid meetings and walkthroughs scheduled separately for each contractor.

The project is currently under construction and is scheduled to be completed by June, 2021.

2:00pm - 2:45pm

Lessons from the Startup of Meridian WRRF’s New Primary and Secondary Treatment Systems

Zach Dobroth1, Clint Dolsby2, Dave Bergdolt1, Dan Berthe2, Rick Kelly1, Travis Kissire2, Rick Murray2

1Brown and Caldwell; 2City of Meridian, Idaho;,

To meet stringent effluent ammonia and phosphorus requirements, the City of Meridian recently expanded its Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) capacity to 15 mgd (maximum month flow) with the addition of an influent pump station, a headworks facility, two primary clarifiers, four aeration basins, two secondary clarifiers, a return activated sludge (RAS) classifying selector/anoxic basin, and sludge pumping stations. With the new facilities in place, the City planned to shut down the existing primary and secondary treatment trains until the trains could be retrofitted to meet the more stringent effluent limits. To commission the new facilities and quickly shut down the existing facilities, the City needed to plan for a complex transfer procedure of the existing mixed liquor into the new aeration basins. Our team envisioned three options:

  1. Slow: Transfer waste activated sludge (WAS) from the existing aeration basins to the new aeration basins over a period of days or weeks, operating both sides temporarily until the new basins are fully commissioned.
  2. Intermediate: Transfer half of the mixed liquor from the existing basins directly to the new basins, operating both sides temporarily. After the new basins are stable, complete the transfer.
  3. Quick: Transfer all of the mixed liquor from the existing basins directly to the new basins in one day.

The City selected a quick transfer as the preferred method and extensive planning began. Beginning over a year in advance, the City, engineer, contractor, and systems integrator held a series of meetings to identify critical connections and key tasks to be completed before, during, and after the transfer. This presentation will discuss the successes, challenges, and lessons learned from the planning and startup of the new systems at the WRRF. It will also include WRRF performance data from startup and from a year into operation.

1:15pm - 2:45pmSession 17A: Construction & Alternate Delivery - Livestream
Location: 120AB
1:15pm - 2:00pm

Digital Delivery - "Tools" For Optimized Project Delivery, Not "Gadgets" Of The Future

Daniel Lister

Slayden Constructors Inc., United States of America;

Picture a time prior to the advent of cell phones, where only calls were made from a stationary telephone, and thankfully “selfies” were not a thing yet. Fast forward to 2021, and now we carry around a computer device that is more advanced than NASA’s computer used in 1969 to launch The Saturn V Rocket, thus putting a man on the moon.

This analogy can be applied to the evolution of Virtual Design & Construction. Where we once had a 2D design delivered on paper, we now have and 3D model that serves as the foundation for most water projects today. However, the over-arching challenge is unlocking the full utility of having a 3D design model and validating its use as the primary communication & data storage tool.

To meet this challenge Slayden Constructors strategically deploys state-of-the-art modeling, visualization, tools in a cost-effective, field-tested practice we refer to as Digital Delivery.

This presentation will provide an overview of several digital construction practices being deployed on our projects that have positively impacted project delivery performance in terms of cost, schedule, quality, and safety. These include the following –

  • Digital Design & Constructability Review - Utilizes 3D models and immersive technology (VR/AR) to review constructability, and plant operation in preconstruction.
  • Digital Design & Trade Coordination - Integrates BIM design models and multi-discipline trade models to analyze for clashes and potential alignment issues to resolve in advance of potential rework.
  • Digital Survey – Using reality data capture methods such is Laser Scanning, and Drone Photogrammetry to stream real-time, accurate site data from the project to all stakeholders and clients.
  • Digital Construction Rehearsal – Applying 4D software to identify conflicts and challenges in the construction sequence so that planning can be optimized before starting work at the jobsite.

In conclusion, we will be showcasing our latest projects and demonstrating that these “gadgets” are actually battle-tested tools & workflows that we use concurrently throughout the project life cycle. We will also walk through the challenges of getting to the ultimate goal of delivering a valuable digital asset for the client and operations staff.

2:00pm - 2:45pm

Startup and Commissioning of Biological Nutrient Removal Facilities

William Leaf, Stephanie McGregor

Jacobs, United States of America;

The startup and commissioning of biological nutrient removal (BNR) systems can be one of the more challenging aspects of a Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) project. Proper design, coordination, and scheduling is required for an efficient commissioning phase, ensuring the unit processes work on day one of operation. Startup and commissioning of a WRRF project is one of the most important phases, where the respective unit process, associated equipment, instrumentation, and communication system must all work together as intended to achieve the project goals. Use of predictive tools leading into the commissioning phase can greatly increase the odds of success of this complicated endeavor.

The presentation provides guidance on the best practices in starting up BNR facilities, bridging the gap between the traditional methods with the new control strategies and innovations available in the industry today. Any biological treatment system requires a level of acclimation prior to meeting the expected treatment performance, and this needs to be addressed to ensure the effluent quality from the facility is achieved throughout the duration of the commissioning phase. There are a number of strategies and approaches available to mitigate a reduction in effluent quality during unit process startup. Implementation of the SCADA system is a key component, requiring a systematic approach to allow a smooth transition for the integration of any updated control logic. Predictive tools are available in the industry to help prepare and address issues that may arise during startup, helping develop mitigation strategies before the actual startup and commissioning phase begins (e.g. – Replica™ control system integration and dynamic hydraulic simulator, whole plant process simulators). Incorporating WRRF operations and maintenance staff in the startup planning and follow-on activities is critical to the success of the project, providing the necessary training together with hands-on operation of the new equipment and instrumentation. Lessons-learned from the recent startup and commissioning projects will be presented, highlighting actual challenges and associated mitigation steps at the respective WRRFs (Grants Pass, OR and Lahaina, HI will be used as reference projects).

1:15pm - 2:45pmSession 18A: Utility Planning
Location: Room 130
1:15pm - 2:00pm

Your Crystal Ball – How Cloud-Based SCADA Allows Operators To See The Future – And Avoid Problems

Colin Bunyard, Kevin Liscovitz


Collection systems play a critical role in public health. Aging underground sanitary and combined sewer systems are prone to infiltration, inflow, and stormwater runoff, while lift stations are overwhelmed by a rise in personal care wipes which wreak havoc on the pumps. As regulatory frameworks become more stringent, agency staff must do more to maintain compliance.

The rise in IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) technology makes it possible to combine remote sensors and cellular communications with the power of cloud computing. Cloud-based SCADA systems allow operators to monitor conditions, receive alarms, control equipment, and view data and trends. We will examine case studies from two agencies that have used cloud-based SCADA to improve their operations and lower the risks of overflows.

Concerned about excessive false alarms from an auto-dialer system, a Southern California Community Services District turned to a cloud-based SCADA system in an effort to gain better visibility into the system and reduce overtime callouts. The cloud-based system allowed them to monitor wet well levels, pump statuses, and AC power remotely from their mobile phones and tablets. The District gained greater visibility by integrating their remote sewer level data into the cloud-based SCADA platform’s user interface. Gaining insight into pump run times before, during, and after rain events enabled District staff to visualize the impacts of inflow and infiltration on their system. The upstream sewer water level data also gave the staff a heads-up in terms of the downstream impacts on the wet wells and lift stations during storm events.

Another Community Services District used a cloud-based SCADA system to calculate the volume of raw sewage they were delivering to a neighboring agency for treatment to reconcile service fees. The system provided district staff with alarms during a power outage when malfunctioning equipment threatened to overflow a lift station. The high water and loss of power alarms received via SMS text and email-enabled staff to get generator power up and running to avoid an overflow event.

Much like a crystal ball, cloud-based SCADA systems allow operators can monitor conditions remotely and take proactive measures to maintain their systems.

2:00pm - 2:45pm

Is your Utility Looking to Improve? There’s a WISE way to join your Peers!

Mark Poling

Clean Water Services, United States of America;

WISE, the Water Intraprenuers for Successful Enterprises Program, is a comprehensive framework and methodology that helps utilities create value and improve performance. Now an on-going effort housed with the Water Environment Federation, the program was a project called Utility Analysis and Improvement Methodology (UAIM) that was sponsored by the Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT). This collaborative effort includes leading utilities from all over the U.S. including Clean Water Services and the City of Portland, as well as utilities in Denmark, Canada, and the United Kingdom. This comprehensive approach to improve management and performance in water sector utilities includes the development of a business reference model that also helps us determine how to better leverage information technology systems, and research into topics related workforce and organizations. This is a multifaceted approach that considers different execution timeframes – including operational, tactical and strategic. One of the greatest strengths of the WISE program is the collaboration among the participating utilities: the Utility Partners. Subject Matter Experts from a number of utilities have created models of processes and practices for Capital Improvement Programs, Asset Management, capital project Business Case Analysis, and several other topics. The presentation will include an overview of the methodology and several case studies where utilities have successfully employed elements of the approach. Learn how you can become part of the consortium of utilities improving their business practices in meaningful and comprehensive ways.

1:15pm - 2:45pmSession 19A: Workforce Development
Location: Room 410ABC
1:15pm - 2:00pm

Who is in Your Circle of Trust?

Amy Dammarell, Joslynn Hon

HDR, United States of America;,

It is natural to seek out friends and colleagues with whom we share common interests, experiences, background, thoughts and feelings. We tend to surround ourselves with people we share “like” characteristics with. In fact, the more like us someone is, the more apt we are to trust them. What affect does this have on our ability to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace?

Approach: Through large group activities and small group discussion, participants will explore the composition of their “Circle of Trust”. These activities will allow participants to understand how who they choose for their Circle may impact diversity of thought, perspective, decision-making, hiring, and promotion within an organization.

Results: Participants will create practical action steps to form connections, add to their “Circle of Trust” and think differently about diversity.

Conclusion: Participants will build awareness of how to be more intentional to build diverse teams.

2:00pm - 2:45pm

How to be an Inclusion Champion

Amy Dammarell, Joslynn Hon

HDR, United States of America;,

It’s the little things that mean the most. That’s true in so many ways, including our efforts towards creating inclusive cultures and workplaces. While most people rarely experience radically, aggressively prejudicial behavior, many people often experience small, seemingly tiny acts of prejudice, referred to as micro-aggressions. This can cause conflict, misunderstandings, and resentment, which impacts a team’s ability to perform and deliver results, as well as damaging relationships in and out of the workplace.

Approach: Using scenarios and small group discussion, participants will explore real-life situations and determine appropriate action whether they are the subject of the micro-aggression, the offender or and observer.

Results: Participants will create action steps and practice “conversation tools” to effectively handle some common situations and the courage to become an Inclusion Champion.

Conclusion: Participants will learn the signs of micro-aggressions and steps to counteract.

1:15pm - 2:45pmSession 20A: WateReuse: Reuse in the Community
Location: Room 420A

1:15 pm - 2:00 pm

Todd Miller

Launching Community Recycled Water Use Through Collaborative Planning for Multiple Drivers

The Eugene/Springfield Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission (MWMC) is preparing to launch its first-ever outside-the-fence recycled water use. This milestone is being reached after a decade-long planning process to explore, study, and collaborate on “the right water at the right time at the right place.” The MWMC is now looking to break ground on construction of Class A recycled water facilities combining creative use of existing infrastructure, partnerships to demonstrate meaningful and growth-oriented applications, and establishing the MWMC as community water resource partner with an eye toward future regulatory compliance and climate resiliency assets.

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Jacque Klug

Using Research to Inform Community Decisions about Recycled Water Use

Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) is the term applied to a broad array of trace chemicals that come from consumer, commercial and industrial products that are measurable in the environment. CECs are generally unregulated. Wastewater effluent and recycled water has been identified as a potential source of CECs. This session will describe CEC research projects being done to examine CEC presence in recycled water and the risk of CEC exposure from uses of recycled water for food crop irrigation and groundwater recharge. The research study design will be presented along with preliminary research results. The session will describe how research is being shared within the community and informing community discussions about the future of reuse in the respective regions. These presentations will provide a research and communication framework for communities that can be applied in discussing CECs and risk. 


2:45pm - 3:00pmBreak on Exhibit Floor Tuesday Afternoon
3:00pm - 4:30pmSession 14B: Pump Performance/Wastewater Treatment - Livestream
Location: Room 400BC
3:00pm - 3:45pm

Pump Performance Assessment; A Panacea for Predictive Maintenance?

Jennifer E. Murphy, Brandon Moss

Parametrix, United States of America;,

Assessing the condition of pump stations can be a significant undertaking for many utilities, and the specific approaches and techniques of assessment can vary widely. Among the many working components within the pump station its namesake, the pump, is often a key focus. Significantly reduced capacity or excessive vibration are easily identifiable signs of a failed pump; however, quantifying the specific degradation of an individual pump can be difficult. If accurate quantitative data is available the useful life of a pump can be prolonged by targeted maintenance, and premature rebuild or replacement can be avoided.

Methodology for field testing pumps and the differing approaches in testing both flood control and wastewater pumps will be presented. The technical requirements and constraints and opportunities of instruments and data logging equipment will be reviewed. Some of the common and uncommon insights into centrifugal pump performance, implications for the health of the force main, and specific indicators of wear on various components will be discussed.

Two client case studies will be presented detailing how results from pump testing can be applied to assess equipment condition as well as make predictive maintenance and capital improvement decisions. The City of Spokane, WA, tested pumps at five wastewater pump stations to confirm condition and capacity. Multnomah County Drainage District in Portland, OR, has conducted a variety of condition assessments for its 13 flood control pump stations and has performed testing to confirm the flood control pumping capacities and remaining useful life of most of the pumps it maintains. The specifics of testing wastewater and flood control pumps will be covered, in addition to how the resulting test data, in combination with operational data, can be used to perform targeted rebuilds and prioritize replacements.

3:45pm - 4:30pm

CFD in Wastewater Treatment: A Useful Design Tool or Design Dollars Down the Drain

Zachary Hahm Taylor

Osborn Consulting, Inc., United States of America;

With continual improvement of computer processing and software algorithms, there is an ever-growing number of applications for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to improve the design operation of wastewater treatment facilities. However, the costs of CFD modeling studies are significant, not all applications warrant a detailed study, and some studies are not realistic in addition to being unwarranted.

CFD studies are warranted when 1) their cost can be recovered by savings in capital or operations and maintenance 2) an overall reduction in project risk can be achieved 3) the added benefit of flow visualization warrants the added expense. An example is the utilization of CFD studies for contact tanks. These studies can provide an accurate estimate of baffle factor and result in tanks with smaller footprints than would be allowed using empirical equations or design charts. Reduced footprint size and/or reduced disinfection byproducts justify the cost of CFD studies for contact tanks, storage tanks, settling basins, etc.

CFD studies of pump stations that do not require physical models can be used to evaluate pre-swirl and velocity distribution in the pump throat and develop modifications to improve approach conditions to the pumps. However, CFD has yet to advance to where it can be used to evaluate the potential for vortices or for accurate estimation of turbulence entering the pump. Some consultants and software providers may claim that they can, but buyer beware.

Successful studies require proper application and experienced CFD consultants who can both properly execute a model study and interpret/present the results to design engineers and stakeholders. Attendees will gain an understanding of CFD as a tool that can be useful when properly applied and when the design team understands how close to reality the results are.

3:00pm - 4:30pmSession 15B: Wastewater Process
Location: 110AB
3:00pm - 3:45pm

Disrupting the Paradigm of Primary Treatment

Ann-Marie Doerhoff

Lakehaven Water and Sewer Authority, United States of America;

How do you change paradigms? In his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” Thomas Kuhn explains one must keep pointing at the anomalies and failures in the old paradigm. Don’t waste time with reactionaries; rather work with active change agents and with the vast middle ground of people who are open-minded. Wastewater treatment operators, with their unique perspectives on treatment and large numbers in the industry, have the power to drive real improvement in primary treatment and be the change agents.

Misaligned goals led to the current paradigm.

WWTP Owners: Sustainably take in wastewater, remove the solids then return the separated water and solids to nature with a reliable, easy to operate system.

Consulting engineer: Make money by selling billable hours.

Clean Water Act Regulators: Restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation's waters.

Equipment manufacturer: Sell the most equipment for the highest price by producing low maintenance, easy to operate equipment that needs replacement every few years.

I want to tell a story, through the example of an attempt at primary treatment disruption, of how misaligned goals of the various market players make disruption difficult. Clear Cove recognized primary treatment has not changed significantly since humans started building wastewater treatment plants and the industry solution to regulation has been adding in layers of treatment from secondary biological treatment to tertiary filtration. How about a solution that removes as much of the solids and carbon at the start of treatment? Clear cove built and tested this type of system starting in 2008 at small, medium and large WWTP’s but today if you go to their website you get “Not Found The requested URL /municipal/harvester-sewage-treatment/ was not found on this server.”

What happened to Clear Cove and what can we learn from their attempt at disruption? I will tell the story of their three pilot projects aimed at radically improving the separation of solids during primary treatment Reducing the treatment load on secondary treatment would make WWTP’s easier to operate and reduce energy use. This future is possible but only with operators' ideas and wisdom.

3:45pm - 4:30pm

Optimizing Polymer Mixing and Activation: Following the Science

Jeff Rhodes

UGSI Solutions, United States of America;

Despite the wide-spread use of polymers in water and wastewater treatment and their associated high recurring expense, understanding exactly how to optimize polymer use in water and wastewater treatment is not well understood.  With many equipment options available to operators, it makes sense to start with the basics of polymer chemistry and then apply those principles to polymer activation equipment options.  This discussion will review the basics of polymer chemistry, goals of activation, the development of polymer mixing equipment and equipment configuration basics. 

 Factors such as charge site exposure, polymer hydration, application of mixing energy and the effects of dilution water will be detailed as they influence proper polymer activation.  Additionally, the impact of water quality attributes such as disinfectant residual levels and hardness on optimal polymer hydration are explored.  Given the industry trend of using reclaimed water for polymer mixing, it is crucial to understand the effects of residual chlorine, turbidity, and various dissolved ions.

Finally, the benefits of utilizing two-stage mixing - very high initial mixing energy followed by low and uniform mixing energy - are demonstrated by theoretical consideration and practical test data. Emulsion polymer systems with sufficient residence time have proven to provide a more efficient polymer solution. Lastly, both mechanical and hydraulic polymer activation systems will be analyzed to assess their efficiency and adherence to the principles of polymer activation previously discussed.  Included in this discussion are equipment features and the latest improvements that help ensure efficiency and reliability for utilities and treatment plant operators. 

3:00pm - 4:30pmSession 16B: Collection & Conveyance - Intelligent Collection Management - Livestream
Location: Room 430AB
3:00pm - 3:45pm

Artificial Intelligence, Real Solutions. Identifying Sewer Defects with AI

Joshua Ford, Molly Loucks

Burgess & Niple;,

Traditional sewer inspection methods such as internal CCTV can be time-consuming and can overlook defects due to inaccurate identification and subjectivity in how people code. When assessing the future degradation of a sewer line or determining which asset to prioritize for rehabilitation, the difference and accuracy of coding is critical.

The goal of integrating artificial intelligence (AI) with sewer inspection is to supplement workers in the field, not to replace them. AI takes on the more common defects allowing field workers to focus on work at hand (access, MOT, cleaning) and codes that are more difficult and less frequent.

As with any project, the more accurate the data that goes in, the better quality of data that comes out. It is necessary to capture clear and unobstructed video, whether a field technician or an AI-based platform performs the assessment. When provided clear video, B&N’s AI has an accuracy rating of approximately 90%.

Our AI captures and recreates the workflow in coding and performing the quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) of sewer inspections. With this technology, we have substantially reduced the time required to review sewer inspection data, increased the number and accuracy of defects identified and coded, and supplemented the human element that is prone to bias. Removing the burden of coding all defects from the contractor allows them to inspect more footage in a day and reduce the cost-per-foot for the owner. Utility providers can quickly move through existing video to provide a database that shows the condition of their storm and sanitary infrastructure, allowing them to make data-driven decisions that are transparent and repeatable.

This presentation will demonstrate the benefits of using AI as a low-cost way to evaluate systems and better maintain assets to prioritize rehabilitation and coordinate with other work such as roadway improvements.

3:45pm - 4:30pm

Real Time – Decision Support Systems For Intelligent Watershed Management

Alex Puryear

Xylem Inc., United States of America;

Technological advances have enabled Real-Time Decision Support Systems (RT-DSS) to dynamically optimize collection system operations using a stream of data from sensors placed in the network, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, and real-time weather ensemble forecasts.

Giant leaps forward in computing power, combined with advances and cost reductions in sensor and telemetry technologies, have made it possible to go far beyond the status quo and break into a new echelon of opportunities. We can now run high-resolution models in real-time, with real-world precipitation data, while correcting critical downstream model nodes with observed sensor data. The outcome is perpetually calibrated digital copies of the urban watershed designed for operators providing far more effective real-time operational decision making and control.

The RT-DSS provides operational intelligence, including:

  • Active, automated, and continuous monitoring of the sensor network.
  • Real-time collection system condition assessment identifying hydraulic anomalies.
  • Guidance providing consistent actions that are continually updating to achieve designed objectives such as reducing energy consumption, minimizing overflows, and balancing diurnal curves to treatment plants.
  • Real-time models infused with artificial intelligence and probabilistic weather forecast to predict future outcomes in the collection systems.
  • Realize capacity in existing assets that otherwise could not be achieved using traditional control methods.

The RT-DSS output is actionable information provided to the operation staff, engineering, and leadership using web-based dashboards.

Attendees of this presentation will benefit by better understanding what a Real-Time Decision Support System (RT-DSS) is and how they can help utilities better manage their collection systems. This presentation will discuss the development and implementation of several RT-DSS for utilities here in the Pacific Northwest and across the Country.

3:00pm - 4:30pmSession 17B: Construction & Alternate Delivery - Livestream
Location: 120AB
3:00pm - 3:45pm

Rethinking Risk Management Approaches in Design-Bid-Build Projects

Michelle Green

Jacobs, United States of America;

VIrtual Sessions

As the use of Collaborative Delivery models (e.g. CM/GC, GC/CM, Progressive Design Build) expand, Owners and Engineers are becoming exposed to the risks that Contractors regularly manage and price. These models inherently require characterization and negotiation of risk allocation, with the goal of shifting risks to the party best able to manage them. This analysis of likelihood and consequence of failure, along with an understanding of the practical cost implications associated with simply shifting risk to the Contractor, results in better informed decision-making. A similar approach can be implemented in traditional Design-Bid-Build delivery models to support better project outcomes.

This presentation will first provide an overview of the risk management process utilized in collaborative models. Then, examples of how to apply these techniques in a traditional delivery model to manage project costs and reduce potential for claims will be discussed. Specific areas of focus include:

  • Actively managing scope growth during design
  • Use of a Risk Register during design development
  • Minimizing unknowns through additional pre-construction investigations
  • Good and bad examples of allocating risk to the contractor
  • Effective utilization of Allowances, Contingencies, incentives, etc.
  • Risks that Owners should retain

3:45pm - 4:30pm

Between a Lake and a Hard Place: Constructability Constraints & CIPP Lining

Brendan O'Sullivan

Murraysmith, United States of America; Brendan.O'

The City of Fairview’s Interlachen trunk sewer, constructed in 1966, is a 12-inch-diameter concrete sanitary sewer along Fairview Lake’s northern shoreline. To extend the service life of their system, the City decided to rehabilitate approximately 12,000 linear feet of the degraded concrete trunk sewer.

The trunk sewer is located predominantly in private backyards routed through backyard easements of nearly 70 private properties along the lakeshore within an existing easement, presenting a unique set of construction challenges. Any excavation along the Fairview Lake shoreline would trigger floodplain permitting and likely an archaeological investigation, as the project area was once the site of a large Multnomah Native American village known as ničáqʷli. Since development of the land in 1911, an abundance of artifacts and burial remains associated with ničáqʷli have been uncovered.

These challenges provided the opportunity for an innovative solution. In the case of the Interlachen Trunk Sewer, constructability constraints presented the perfect opportunity to use UV-CIPP lining. The small construction footprint helped minimize impacts to residents, requiring less equipment to install the liner than steam or water cured CIPP methods.

This presentation will provide an overview of the challenges faced during the Interlachen Sewer Rehabilitation Project and the advantages of using UV-CIPP lining to minimize private property impacts.

3:00pm - 4:30pmSession 18B: Utility Planning
Location: Room 130
3:00pm - 3:45pm

Affordable Housing and Tiered Development Impact Fees

Chris Storey, Erin Blue, Ron Wierenga

Water Environment Services, United States of America;,

One of the emerging issues in utility management and capital financing is how to address the impact of affordable housing on a wastewater system. Utilities often receive pressure to waive or reduce development impact fees for what is seen as more desirable or diverse and potentially more equitable housing supply. This is counterbalanced by the challenge that if those developments do not pay for the cost of their impact to the system, another segment of the customer base will. This leaves the utility stuck between two valid policy goals and leaving both groups unhappy with any changes made.

To create a path forward, Clackamas Water Environment Services (WES) explored a more nuanced effort to measure the impact of housing size as a proxy for water consumption on the wastewater system. As a regional wastewater system crossing multiple water providers, WES does not assign equivalent dwelling units (EDUs) based on direct water consumption data, but used the traditional “a house is a house” model with a 20% discount for multi-family dwellings. WES pulled winter water consumption data from several underlying water providers, then cross-indexed with census data and home size information to create a model of flow contributions to the system.

WES found a statistically significant difference in wastewater discharges that correlated to the size of the dwelling, with small 800 square foot dwellings at one end and 3000 square foot dwellings at the other. After slicing the data several different ways, WES established key deviations from the baseline consumption of a 2000 square foot home. These deviations supported the creation of a 5-tiered EDU assignment (and therefore development impact fee assignment) for new development that reduced the cost of affordable housing, and increased the cost of large homes.

This nuanced distinction created a path forward to enabling lower affordable housing fees while having a strong, evidence-based approach that there was no subsidy being given by another customer segment. WES proposes to share how the analysis was done, how to draw conclusions from the data, and how to implement a tiered development impact fee structure.

3:45pm - 4:30pm

Five Things to Know About Saving Ratepayers Millions of Dollars with WIFIA

Clark Worth, David Stangel

Murraysmith, United States of America;,

Every water and wastewater utility in the United States should be aware of and consider participating in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program. The benefits to your community and ratepayers can have generational impact. Our staff has supported more than $1.4B in WIFIA loan Letters of Interests and subsequent applications. This presentation covers the five things utilities should know about WIFIA:

  1. What projects are eligible for WIFIA? Projects that qualify for Drinking Water SRF and Clean Water SRF are also eligible for WIFIA. Projects that cost $20M+ (or $5M+ for communities less than 25,000 population) can apply. The WIFIA loan can cover 49% of eligible project costs.
  2. What are the benefits to ratepayers of WIFI loans? Very low interest rates, funds disbursed on a reimbursement basis, and flexible loan terms give utilities a flexible financial tool that maximizes the benefits to your ratepayers.
  3. How do you apply? The annual cycle starts as early as April with a call from the EPA inviting communities to submit a Letter of Interest (LOI). This LOI provides the EPA with a detailed analysis of project costs, revenue, benefits, impacts, and risks that takes months to prepare but is due in just 90 days. Top scoring LOIs are invited by EPA to submit a loan application. Approved loans close in 12 to 18 months.
  4. What are the chances of success? WIFIA is well funded—the right projects have good odds of success. In FY 2020, there was $5.5B in loan authority. EPA selected 55 of 67 projects to apply.
  5. A strong LOI is key to success. Applicants need to approach it like a proposal, providing evidence that the project meets all 16 review criteria. Projects that are ready to proceed and creditworthy applicants are likely to score well.

Attendees of this presentation will have the information they need to take a closer look at WIFIA funding for their agency, potentially saving their ratepayers millions—or hundreds of millions—in interest payments

3:00pm - 4:30pmSession 19B: Workforce Development
Location: Room 410ABC
3:00pm - 3:45pm

Stepping into Management During a Pandemic: What have we learned?

Adam Schuyler, Nichole Kruse

Murraysmith, United States of America;,

Nichole and Adam both took on new roles within the organization as the COVID-19 pandemic started to spread in early 2020, significantly disrupting the status quo. Nichole was promoted to Group Manager and Adam to Puget Sound Regional Manager and Corporate Management Team member. They were both charged with unifying and growing the Puget Sound Region that operates in four offices, and improving regional performance across multiple metrics (i.e., revenue, sales, profit). At the end of 2020, the Puget Sound region had met and, in certain areas, exceeded its performance goals, making significant strides towards operating as a cohesive region.

During the presentation, Nichole will share what she has learned as a first-time staff manager. Adam will share his experiences stepping into new roles and what has changed or shifted from his previous experience managing staff during “normal” non-pandemic circumstances. The presentation will include a discussion of lessons learned, and how they plan to apply their experiences moving forward in the era following the COVID-19 crisis.

3:45pm - 4:30pm

Developing New Tools for Virtual Outreach

Joanne Lind, Siri Nelson

LOTT Clean Water Alliance, United States of America;,

Virtual Speakers

Problem Statement

The LOTT Clean Water Alliance’s active education and outreach program helps forge strong connections with the community. LOTT has invested in their WET Science Center, partnerships with local school districts, and public outreach that includes providing tours to community groups. When LOTT’s treatment plant and WET Science Center had to temporarily close to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we quickly changed our focus to develop strategies and tools for connecting with our community virtually. Using a collaborative process, we began creating new programming and outreach tools, including a virtual plant tour and virtual field trip.


A team of LOTT staff worked with a video production company to create a virtual tour and related videos to explain the wastewater treatment process, resource recovery, clean water careers, and what not to flush.

LOTT’s education staff quickly shifted gears to produce a new live web-based program to continue serving our three partner school districts within LOTT’s service area, and to continue to support science teachers and reach middle school students.


Joanne Lind, LOTT’s Public Communications Manager, worked with LOTT staff and a video production company, Twisted Scholar, to create an engaging and accurate portrayal of the treatment process. Staff were encouraged to contribute ideas and input in each step of production, resulting in a series of videos that everyone is proud of. Even after in-person tours resume, these videos will be used to increase accessibility for community members to learn about the treatment process.

The education team, led by Siri Nelson, Education Program Manager, created a virtual wastewater field trip program that incorporated input and feedback from teachers and district staff to ensure the program met the rapidly changing needs of virtual classrooms while remaining effective. The virtual field trips have received positive feedback, and the education program is on track for meeting outreach goals for the 2020-21 school year.


Presenters will discuss how they created virtual tools to continue to provide public outreach without in-person contact. They will offer lessons learned, best practices, and ways to use virtual tools to reach members of your community.

3:00pm - 4:30pmSession 20B: WateReuse: Making Reuse "Cool"
Location: Room 420A

Virtual Speakers

3:00 pm to 3:45 pm

Bob Davis

Case Study for Datacenter Cooling Water Reuse 

The Quincy Water Reuse Utility (QWRU) has just been commissioned by the City of Quincy to treat non-contact cooling water for reuse back into a portion of the Quincy datacenters.  Microsoft, Washington Department of Ecology, US Bureau of Reclamation, and the Quincy-Columbia Irrigation District have played major roles in the success of this utility; the first of its kind in the State of Washington.  Non-contact cooling water blowdown is treated to remove cations and anions that reduce the efficiency of evaporative cooling and helps to reduce the volume of cooling water used.  In the past, potable water has been used for cooling water; however, this water is very hard and contains high levels silica.  Both components negatively impact the cooling equipment; requiring additional equipment maintenance to retain the equipment’s cooling efficiency.  The QWRU treats the cooling water to remove hardness and silica before being pumped back to the datacenters for cooling water.  Cooling requires make-up water to replace from 60 to 80 percent water loss due to evaporation.  Make-up water is provided by USBR M&I Water, potable water and, in the future, municipal Class A water.  The QWRU consists of 10 distinct and specific water treatment unit processes to provide reuse water suitable for cooling.  The QWRU is capable of providing from 2,304,000 to up to 3,600,000 gallons of treated water per day.   Residuals from the treatment system is managed with on-site evaporation ponds and sludge management systems.  The QWRU saves a precious potable water resource in an arid region of Washington State and will save up to 398,000,000 gallons of potable water in a year; enough to provide 5,450 residents potable water for a year.  

3:45 pm to 4:45 pm

Haili Matsukawa

Strategic Planning: the key to internal alignment and program momentum

Can't seem to reach agreement? Often times, project progress is stifled by a difference of opinions. How can we create alignment among technical professionals, management, elected officials, and ratepayers?

Meaningful engagement, clear goals, consistent communications can create the synergy needed to get complex programs off the ground and the momentum required to carry them out. Even within a divided community, strategic planning can identify common threads, shared values, and a desired vision of the future.

Using regional and interstate case studies, we will discuss how strategic planning, inclusive communications, and two-way engagement create alignment, public trust, and confidence in water reuse solutions. This interactive session will provide you with the tools and tactics needed to turn barriers into breakthroughs.

4:30pm - 6:00pmExhibitors Closing Reception
Location: Exhibit Hall
4:45pm - 5:30pmInFLOW Awards
Location: Room 440
5:00pm - 5:30pmWFP Meet Up: Water for People Meet Up

Move for Water in-person meet up with Halley @ 5:00-5:30pm - meet at The Grove.

6:30pm - 8:30pmDinner—Tuesday Night Awards Banquet
Location: Room 400BC

The livestreaming of the awards ceremony will begin at 7:15pm MT.