Project Profile: Alternative Energy Systems Wastewater Treatment Plant

Firm name: CDM

Project building name and location: Alternative Energy Systems Wastewater Treatment Plant, North Conway, N.H.

Type of building and type of project: Wastewater Treatment Plant, New Construction

Project completion date and project duration: Project completed: 2010

Engineering challenges and solutions:

The North Conway Water Precinct is a specially chartered municipal corporation providing water and sewer service and fire protection to precinct residents in North Conway and Bartlett, New Hampshire. The precinct owns and operates a state-of-the-art 1.5 million gallon per day (MGD) advanced wastewater treatment plant incorporating the latest wastewater treatment technologies available. The facility also serves as the base of operations for the precinct’s staff and crews. These advanced technologies are vital to the preservation of the pristine quality of the surrounding Mount Washington Valley and Saco River. The facility incorporates aesthetically appealing architectural and engineering features to compliment the natural, rural beauty of its New Hampshire setting.

The dedication of the North Conway Water Precinct, and the communities it serves, is not only evident in their attention to the aesthetic and environmental impact on their surroundings, but also their commitment to reducing their energy consumption. Energy costs represent a large percentage of the operating budget for the precinct’s facility. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the precinct was awarded a grant to investigate and implement alternative energy technologies to help offset these energy costs. The ARRA funding will provide a 50 percent grant to design and construct the alternative energy project valued at $2.4 million.

The two phase Alternative Energy Systems project began construction in December 2009. The goal of the Alternative Energy project is to leverage the use of energy saving technologies to provide clean and efficient energy for the treatment of wastewater. Based on the initial evaluation, it was determined that a geothermal system could provide a portion of the heating and cooling for the treatment facility and a solar photovoltaic (PV) system could further offset the facility’s energy requirements by providing approximately 200,815 kWh annually.

The above combination of systems will significantly reduce fossil fuel energy consumption at precinct’s treatment plant, thereby providing significant long-term cost and environmental benefits to the precinct and its ratepayers. Phase I of the project involves the installation of 744 solar panels, which will augment the power supplied to the treatment facility and decrease the draw on the electrical grid. Phase II of the project involves the installation of 16 geothermal wells. The wells supply groundwater to the facility’s HVAC system. The constant temperature water will reduce the energy needed to heat and cool the various buildings of the treatment facility. In order to maximize the energy conserving potential, the North Conway Water Precinct determined that the installation of high-efficiency boilers is a principle and sensible component of this project.

By incorporating high-efficiency boilers into the design, the treatment facility expects to save approximately 2,750 gallons of oil per year. This project provides significant environmental and economical benefits to the North Conway Water Precinct and meets the goals and requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 by incorporating “green” energy technologies and investing in infrastructure and environmental protection while promoting economic recovery.

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