Thirty New Municipal Wastewater Projects Per Week in North America
There are more than 30 new municipal wastewater projects initiated per week in the U.S. and Canada according to the McIlvaine Company who tracks these projects in North America Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facilities and People.
Many of these projects are active for five years or more. This results in thousands of active projects at any one point in time. These projects range from modifications to small plants to construction of new large 400 mgd facilities. The new facilities are generally located in the south and west and are to meet the population expansion. However, new plants are being slated to replace older plants in regions where the population is not growing.
One major project is to replace a plant which is more than 100 years old and has only been modified to extend its life. In general, replacing old plants with new ones results in the lowest overall cost. Many old plants do not have the modern digital controls which can provide greater efficiency. Newer equipment designs such as membrane contactors have only been available for the last twenty years.
Odor control is another aspect which is much more cost effectively accomplished with a new plant. The cost of odor control is more a function of the air volume treated than the concentration of contaminant. Older plants require much more capture air than new ones which are designed with air minimization as a goal.
In the future there will be more projects directed at reusing municipal treated wastewater. There are at least ten current projects where combined cycle power plants are being built with the intention of using the discharge from the local MWTP.
One area where the projects are mostly at a small scale is the analysis and removal of contaminant of emerging concern (CEC). There is work going on to evaluate pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Southern California is concerned about the environmental impact of more than one billion gallons of treated wastewater which is discharged daily into the ocean from municipalities.
Source: The McIlvaine Company