New Jersey Treatment Plant Upgrade Includes New Technology

You could say that their 140-year tradition of excellence is something that?s just ?in the water? at the company. For at United Water in New Jersey, thousands of dedicated people work daily, across numerous disciplines to relentlessly investigate new processes and technologies, all aimed at providing their customers with safe, clean drinking water every day. And, along every step of the way, the work is done with the greatest consideration given to the environment.

United Water?s newest installment in that philosophy comes in the form of a major renovation of its Haworth Water Treatment Plant in northeastern New Jersey, the most substantial project of its kind in the company?s history.

?While waves of changes have touched upon almost every aspect of our industry, one fundamental remains the same today,? said Bob Iacullo, president and chief operating officer of United Water. ?It is the uncompromising commitment to a superior infrastructure aimed at meeting the needs of more than 7 million people in 26 states.?

The largest part of United Water?s infrastructure, the Haworth Plant first went into service in 1964 and today serves more than 800,000 people wrapped around the northern tip of the state in Bergen and Hudson counties. Additionally, as a facility in Northeast New Jersey, its location places it right in the middle of ? and integral to ? the important economy of New York City and its northern New Jersey suburbs.

Haworth?s 200 million gallon-per-day (mgd) capacity represents almost a quarter of the capacity treated by United Water on a daily basis. On any given day, through its direct ownership of 20 regulated companies and partnerships in 240 municipal water systems, United Water treats 945 million gallons of drinking water and 815 million gallons of wastewater.

?The project cost and scope made the Haworth upgrade the single largest capital investment ever made by the company in its more than 140-year history and, we are proud to say, the largest facility in the nation that uses the water clarification technology of high-rate dissolved air flotation (DAF),? Iacullo said.

Using an innovative design-build procurement approach, United Water?s recently completed upgrade at the Haworth Water Treatment Plant will improve water quality, improve operational efficiencies, meet current and pending drinking water regulations, enhance the environmental sustainability of the plant, and build a facility that would serve the region for decades.

Haworth Background

Since its construction in the mid-1960s, the Haworth Water Treatment Plant has served the region well. The facility had a 50 mgd capacity and served about 600,000 customers. Haworth featured traditional water treatment processes such as flocculation, sedimentation and filtration. Growth and regulatory changes required a plant expansion in 1987 to meet the needs of a 30 percent growth in population, about 800,000 people, and the incorporation of ozone and direct filtration.

After nearly 20 solid years of performance since the expansion, a host of new challenges to Haworth?s continued operation would require action by the company if the facility was to maintain its distinction as an industry leader into the future. Those included a tough new round of federal environmental requirements on water quality, stressed ozonation and filtration processes, and deteriorating water quality from the developed suburban watersheds of the reservoir that feeds into the plant.

Haworth Pilot Plant & Design-Build Project Delivery

United Water actually began the Haworth Water Treatment Plant upgrade initiative in 2002 with the development of a $1 million pilot plant design, construction and testing ? a project that was required by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and a critical component of this capital infrastructure investment.

United Water invested more than $1 million to design, construct and test a to-scale model treatment plant of the Haworth Water Treatment Plant to test several different technologies, design scenarios and water treatment combinations in an actual operating environment to finalize the design of the Haworth Water Treatment Plant upgrade.

Over a 12-month period, the pilot plant was designed, built, placed into operation and tested on an ongoing basis. During the operation of the pilot plant, over 150 operating scenarios were tested. The result of this invaluable pilot plant effort was the final design approach to United Water?s Haworth Water Treatment Plant upgrade and about a $20 million savings through optimized process design.

The plant upgrade was delivered using the innovative design-build procurement methodology. Under the design-build project delivery model, the owner designs the project to 30 percent design, and solicits bids from private contractors to hire one contractor responsible for completing the design, and advancing the construction under one fixed-fee contract, with an expedited delivery schedule.

As part of this procurement process, United Water selected CDM, a nationally recognized design and construction firm. CDM was selected to progress the design to 100 percent, while advancing the construction phase of the project in partnership with United Water on an expedited schedule. While the design-build methodology is often used to transfer some of the associated risks from the owner to the construction firm, this innovative procurement methodology forced both United Water and CDM to work in partnership to deliver the project on time and within budget. The new facilities were brought on-line about six months ahead of schedule.

Cutting-Edge Technology Showcased at Haworth

Living up to its reputation as a technology leader in its industry, United Water deployed the new and innovative high-rate dissolved air flotation technology at the Haworth facility. This technology constitutes a new clarification process and is the main element of the upgrade. By using this high-rate technology instead of conventional sedimentation clarification process, United Water conserved 12 acres of woodland.

Like the air bubbling system in a fish tank, DAF is a pretreatment technology that occurs prior to filtration, where water tanks are injected with millions of tiny air bubbles that are used to remove more than 90 percent of the particles and algae from the water drawn from the Oradell Reservoir. In the past, water filters at the Haworth Water Treatment Plant performed the task of removing particulates and algae. As part of the upgrade, DAF was installed before the water is piped to the filters, resulting in much cleaner water flowing through Haworth?s filtration system.

Commonly referred to as induced air flotation, the DAF process is considered to be a practical technique for separating loose particles from liquids. DAF is considered one of the most cost-effective methods designed to remove many types of contaminants by simply using injected air bubbles to float the particles to the top so that the particulates can be skimmed and removed from the water prior to filtration.

The process begins as air is injected and dissolved into the water, producing millions of microscopic bubbles. As the air dissolves, bubbles are formed, which attach themselves to the solids. With the help of the air bubbles, the solids increase their buoyancy and more easily float to the water?s surface. Mechanical skimmers are used to clean the water?s surface and remove the floating solids from the tank.

?The reality is, by introducing DAF to the Haworth Water Treatment Plant, we have made the DAF system the new workhorse,? said Tony Delescinskis, Project Manager, Haworth Water Treatment Plant Upgrade. ?The filters at Haworth have served our customers well for over 40 years. With this new technology, we can get the water much cleaner, a lot faster before it enters the filtration process. While the filters continue to play a critical role within the water treatment process, they don?t have to work as hard now that we have introduced this state-of-the-art DAF to the process. The end product is cleaner, better tasting water for the 800,000 residential and commercial customers within the service territory.?

Of course, incorporation of the DAF technology is impressive by itself. But, it is even more so when you consider that it is a technology perfected by engineers at United?s sister company in the Suez Environnement family, Degremont.

New Ozone System Installed at the Haworth Water Treatment Plant

In addition to the DAF system, United Water incorporated a new ozone technology system as part of its $100 million upgrade at the Haworth Water Treatment Plant. The new ozone system is state-of-the-art, and pretreats the water to allow for effective removal of particles and unwanted tastes and odors that are typically found in untreated water supplies.

?Treating water with ozone is a clean and chemical-free purification process that is friendly to the environment, and actually recycles oxygen back into the atmosphere throughout the water treatment process,? said Jim Glozzy, General Manager, United Water New Jersey. ?It also significantly reduces the use of chlorine in the water treatment process.?

Ozone treatment is the use of ozone to achieve a number of water treatment goals like disinfection, oxidation of organic and inorganic contaminants, and is effective as a pretreatment technology that has been proven to improve the performance of subsequent water treatment processes. The primary purpose of the new ozone system is to disinfect the water and remove unwanted tastes and odors in the water. The new system is much more efficient than the system installed in the late 1980s, and has already significantly improved the energy efficiency of the Haworth Water Treatment Plant. The energy used in the combined ozone and DAF processes has been about 40 percent less than the energy used in the old ozone process alone.

The first step in ozone disinfection is to generate ozone gas. Liquid oxygen is transported to the plant and stored for use. It is then vaporized into oxygen gas. When electric currents are applied to a flow of oxygen gas, some oxygen molecules (O2) are split and bond to other oxygen molecules to form ozone molecules (O3).

Next, the water that has finished the flocculation process is piped into the ozone contactor basins. Ozone is bubbled up through the water. Water typically will spend 15 minutes in this system, traveling over and under a series of baffle walls to maximize the contact with the ozone gas. The ozone treated water then continues through the treatment plant to begin the clarification and filtration processes. Meanwhile, the ozone that was used in the process is converted back into harmless oxygen and released into the atmosphere.

Pushing the Envelope on Technology

Technology has been a longstanding tradition with United Water. From developing groundbreaking technologies for existing resources, United Water has employed the management of human and technological resources to deliver a broad range of reliable solutions tailored to meet local needs, including large urban systems such as that served by the Haworth facility to smaller, less complex plants.

To remain on the technological forefront, United Water collaborates with water companies around the world through the?R+i Alliance, the research consortium of?Suez Environnement, its parent company. This research network is the world leader for the water services industry.

Some examples of global technology at work in facilities operated by United Water include:

United Water Delaware & DensaDeg High-Rate Clarifier Technology ? This technology enhances drinking water quality, reduces facility expansion needs and preserves the surrounding wetlands.

United Water New York & Membrane Technology ? This innovative use of membranes removes unwanted entrained air from the water, using less space than conventional methods and at no additional energy cost.

United Water San Antonio & Crystal Ultrafiltration ? This absolute barrier against unwanted particles in drinking water requires less chlorine and minimal facility expansion.

John Dyksen is Vice President of Capital Planning and Delivery for United Water.

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