Wastewater Treatment Takes Center Stage in Alexandria, Va.

May 4, 2016

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Alexandria Renew Enterprises connects the community to water

On Oct. 23, approximately 250 people gathered at the Alexandria (Va.) Renew Enterprises dedication ceremony for Limerick Street Field, which sits above a new nutrient management facility. Photo courtesy of Erin Rexroth, Erin J. Photography.

On Oct. 23, approximately 250 people gathered at the Alexandria (Va.) Renew Enterprises dedication ceremony for Limerick Street Field, which sits above a new nutrient management facility. Photo courtesy of Erin Rexroth, Erin J. Photography.

In Alexandria, Va., wastewater treatment services are taking the spotlight. A new multipurpose athletic field sitting over a nutrient management facility and an environmental center will connect the community to the often invisible but vital public service of transforming water.

“A new series of projects is enabling us to throw off the cloak of invisibility,” said Karen Pallansch, chief executive officer of Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew).

Protecting the Chesapeake Bay

The Limerick Street Field opened in October 2015, providing Alexandria, Va., with a new outdoor space. Photo courtesy of Adam Cassara, Rust, Orling Architecture.

The Limerick Street Field opened in October 2015, providing Alexandria, Va., with a new outdoor space. Photo courtesy of Adam Cassara, Rust, Orling Architecture.

AlexRenew treats about 132,475 m3/d (35 million gal/d) of wastewater on a 13-ha (33-ac) property. Treated water makes its way into the Chesapeake Bay via the Potomac River. With increasing regulations to protect the bay, AlexRenew stepped up to help meet maximum daily load limits and improve the bay’s water quality.

“The city of Alexandria’s success is built on its surrounding water bodies, which are a source of beauty, recreation, and commerce,” Pallansch said. “As a steward of these water resources, we were asked to invest in technology that significantly reduces the amount of nitrogen in the water we send back to the Chesapeake Bay.”

During the Limerick Street Field dedication ceremony, community members, water sector leaders, business leaders, and elected officials attended and children kicked the first soccer balls on the new community space. Photo courtesy of Erin Rexroth, Erin J. Photography.

During the Limerick Street Field dedication ceremony, community members, water sector leaders, business leaders, and elected officials attended and children kicked the first soccer balls on the new community space. Photo courtesy of Erin Rexroth, Erin J. Photography.

AlexRenew’s South Carlyle Strategy and State-of-the-Art Nitrogen Upgrade Program (SANUP) will help increase public engagement and available jobs in the community, as well as the amount of nitrogen removed from water. The strategy is a plan to develop, with other partners, multiple areas of land and create a neighborhood on a former landfill. The $150-million upgrade program enables AlexRenew to reduce the total nitrogen concentration in its effluent to 3 mg/L, while also reducing energy and chemical needs and offsetting future capacity needs, according to Pallansch.

SANUP facility cleans water, controls odor, and manages stormwater

SANUP, which began in 2007, will help AlexRenew reduce the total nitrogen discharged to the Chesapeake Bay by 20% annually. In 2015, AlexRenew removed 1.9 million kg (4.1 million lbs) of total nitrogen and 272,000 kg (600,000 lbs) of total phosphorus.

Alexandria Renew Enterprises also is building a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum-certified environmental center adjacent to the field. The center will feature solar panels, a living wall, and reclaimed water system as well as an educational lobby that will promote water stewardship. Photo courtesy of Peter Cane, Peter Cane Photography.

Alexandria Renew Enterprises also is building a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum-certified environmental center adjacent to the field. The center will feature solar panels, a living wall, and reclaimed water system as well as an educational lobby that will promote water stewardship. Photo courtesy of Peter Cane, Peter Cane Photography.

SANUP includes the 68,000-m3 (18-million-gal) nutrient management facility. The facility stores primary effluent during daily nitrogen peaks to help balance ammonia-nitrogen loading to AlexRenew’s biological reactor basins. The facility includes an advanced odor control system that uses activated carbon to treat odor. It also includes a wet-weather wet-well and space for future wet-weather equipment to help manage stormwater.

“The nutrient management facility is part of an innovative solution to removing nitrogen that also engages the public and supports economic development,” Pallansch said.

In her opening remarks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 23, Alexandria Renew Enterprises CEO Karen Pallansch discussed how the Nutrient Management Facility and field embody the organization’s core values: innovation, being a good neighbor, problem solving, and transforming local waterways. Photo courtesy of Erin Rexroth, Erin J. Photography.

In her opening remarks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 23, Alexandria Renew Enterprises CEO Karen Pallansch discussed how the Nutrient Management Facility and field embody the organization’s core values: innovation, being a good neighbor, problem solving, and transforming local waterways. Photo courtesy of Erin Rexroth, Erin J. Photography.

Through SANUP, AlexRenew also is implementing deammonification technology in sidestream and mainstream processes. As one of the first water resource recovery facilities to implement this technology on such a large scale, the organization plans to provide details so others can follow its lead, according to Pallansch.

“In finding a way to achieve lower nutrient limits, we faced several challenges, including our urban site, which is space-constrained and close to our neighbors,” Pallansch said. The location available for the nutrient management facility had contaminated soils from previous unregulated landfill activities. The site was cleaned and now features extensive resource protection areas.

South Carlyle Strategy connects the community to AlexRenew

As part of the South Carlyle Strategy public-private partnership, AlexRenew, the City of Alexandria, and Carlyle Partners (Washington, D.C.) constructed a multi-purpose athletic field over the nutrient management facility.

Community members at the Family FieldFest on Oct. 24, could hear live music; purchase food from vendors; participate in exercise classes, pumpkin painting, arts and crafts projects, and a sports league expo; and see demonstrations by local companies focused on healthy and sustainable living. Photo courtesy of Dave Masucci, David Masucci Photography.

Community members at the Family FieldFest on Oct. 24, could hear live music; purchase food from vendors; participate in exercise classes, pumpkin painting, arts and crafts projects, and a sports league expo; and see demonstrations by local companies focused on healthy and sustainable living. Photo courtesy of Dave Masucci, David Masucci Photography.

On Oct. 23, approximately 250 people gathered for a ceremony hosted by AlexRenew to introduce the community to the Limerick Street Field. On Oct. 24, community members celebrated the opening of the field with food, music, and demonstrations focused on healthy and sustainable living at the Family FieldFest. During both events, AlexRenew introduced the community to its nitrogen-eating superhero mascot, Moxie, who will teach children about the water cleaning process and the value of water.

Alexandria Renew Enterprises environmental center will feature an educational lobby with museum quality exhibits promoting water stewardship and awareness of the water resource recovery process. Photo courtesy of Asif Ali.

Alexandria Renew Enterprises environmental center will feature an educational lobby with museum quality exhibits promoting water stewardship and awareness of the water resource recovery process. Photo courtesy of Asif Ali.

Next to Limerick Street Field, AlexRenew is building an environmental center that it proposes to meet the platinum certification standard of the national program in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The building, which will include solar panels, a living wall, and reclaimed water system, is located between AlexRenew’s treatment tanks and planned residential and commercial areas. An educational lobby within the building will feature exhibits promoting water stewardship and awareness of water resource recovery. Reclaimed water will be used to irrigate the surrounding landscape. In addition, the building will provide meeting space for local nonprofits, and the ultimate partnered design connects to a neighborhood bike and pedestrian path. “Rather than build tall tanks on our west campus site, we decided on a path that makes us an integral part of the surrounding development and Alexandria community,” Pallansch said.

Receiving benefits from 10-years of teamwork

Community members attending Family FieldFest also got to meet Moxie, Alexandria Renew Enterprises’ new nitrogen-eating superhero. Photo courtesy of Denis Largeron, Denis Largeron Photography.

Community members attending Family FieldFest also got to meet Moxie, Alexandria Renew Enterprises’ new nitrogen-eating superhero. Photo courtesy of Denis Largeron, Denis Largeron Photography.

The nutrient management facility and Limerick Street Field became a reality through a unique 10-year public-private partnership. “The team worked together with a multidisciplinary group of architects, engineers, and others to turn our site challenges into opportunities.”

In early 2016, both the American Council of Engineering Companies of Metro Washington (D.C.) and the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists (Annapolis, Md.) honored SANUP for engineering excellence in design.

See more photos and details of these projects in the May Splash Shot section of WE&T.

— Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

 

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