U.S. project wins Bentley’s ‘Going Digital’ award for water/wastewater

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District’s (Regional San) $1.7 billion EchoWater project was recently named a winner of Bentley Systems’ Going Digital Awards in Infrastructure, which recognizes users of the company’s software for excellence in infrastructure modeling and digital twin.

The EchoWater project is a decade-long expansion of the district’s regional wastewater treatment plant near Elk Grove, California. The treatment plant is the second largest of its kind in the nation and treats an average of 135 million gallons of wastewater each day from 1.6 million people throughout Sacramento County and West Sacramento.

Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure and Going Digital Awards event, held at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, Oct. 11-12. The conference invited the Going Digital Awards finalists from several industry categories to present their projects to a panel independent judges to determine the winners and meet with global press and industry executives. Among the categories is a water/wastewater category, for which the EchoWater project was a finalist.

The project began in 2010 when new treatment requirements were issued for Regional San’s wastewater discharge permit aimed at improving water quality and alleviating ecological problems in the Delta. Regional San tested many possible treatment strategies to achieve the new permit requirements. A specific strategy was selected, engineering designs were completed, and construction began. The massive upgrade consisted of 22 individual projects that together used 41,350 tons of steel and more than 225,000 cubic yards of concrete.

The centerpiece of the upgrade was the Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) Project—the heart of the new treatment process. BNR is a sprawling complex, roughly equivalent in size to 18 football fields, and is responsible for removing 99% of ammonia and 89% of nitrogen, addressing concerns about possible impacts downstream.

The design team at Project Controls Cubed needed to design 22 individual projects for a sprawling complex for removing the ammonia and nitrogen, presenting significant challenges. The team used Bentley’s SYNCHRO and iTwin to develop construction solutions and a digital twin. Working in a connected digital visual environment helped EchoWater deliver the project $400 million (USD) under budget. The project cost savings are being used to fund Regional San’s Harvest Water program, providing recycled clean water to the agricultural lands and existing habitats in southern Sacramento County.

Regional San said the expansion project was among the largest public works projects in the Sacramento region’s history.

Click here for more on the design, construction and new features at Sacrament’s EchoWater Resource Recovery Facility.

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