• From left to right, CDM Smith's Dan Rodrigo, Chris Schulz and Patrick Evans pose with their respective Grand Prize awards for planning, operations and management, and research.

file under: Bioremediation, Facilities, Federal Government, Government, Integrated Resources Management, Membranes, Program Management, Sustainability, United States, Water, Water Reuse

CDM Smith Projects Earn Three AAEES Grand Prize Awards

Firm recognized for water resources planning, biological water treatment technology and UV water treatment

May 05, 2014

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts—CDM Smith won three Grand Prize awards in the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) 2014 Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science Awards competition:

  • Grand Prize in Planning—City of San Diego long-range water resources plan
  • Grand Prize in Research—Biological treatment of nitrate and perchlorate for drinking water production
  • Grand Prize in Operations and Management—UV disinfection for the Richard Miller treatment plant

CDM Smith’s long-range water resources plan (LRWRP) for San Diego Public Utilities Department (SDPUD) identifies strategies to conserve and reuse water, protect the environment and reduce dependency on imported water through 2035. SDPUD operates a complex water resources system in San Diego, California, with connections to two large imported water aqueducts, three water treatment plants, three wastewater/reclamation plants, nine surface reservoirs and thousands of miles of distribution pipelines. Meanwhile, the city’s imported water—nearly 80 percent of its supply—is highly susceptible to drought.

“Key to the plan’s success was the comprehensive evaluation of climate change impacts on water demands and supplies. CDM Smith, working closely with the city and public stakeholders, then developed innovative and cost-effective strategies to ensure resiliency through the next 20 to 25 years,” said Dan Rodrigo, CDM Smith project manager.

A sophisticated computer systems model was used to simulate water demands, imported and surface water operations, water and wastewater treatment, discharges of wastewater and stormwater to receiving waters, groundwater quality, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and total lifecycle costs. The resulting plan—flexible, cost-effective and environmentally conscious—may serve as a model to guide other states, agencies and municipalities in their long-range water resources planning as cities increasingly strive for resiliency. Developed over 2 years through a highly collaborative process, the plan was adopted unanimously by stakeholders.

CDM Smith's research demonstrated the effectiveness of a unique biological water treatment technology, membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR), to treat nitrate- and perchlorate-contaminated groundwater and produce drinking water in Rialto, California. MBfR delivers pressurized hydrogen gas to bacteria developing on the outside of permeable hollow fibers, woven together and positioned in reactor tanks. As contaminated water moves through the reactor’s fibers, the bacteria reduce nitrate and perchlorate to innocuous compounds. Afterward, water is aerated, filtered and disinfected to produce potable water.

CDM Smith removed 99 and 94 percent of nitrate and perchlorate, respectively, in the field, while working in close collaboration with Arizona State University engineers and scientists, who performed parallel laboratory research and testing.

Dr. Andrea Leeson, Ph.D., deputy director and environmental restoration program manager of the Department of Defense’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, which funded the research, notes, “The Department of Defense places a high value on high-quality research that leads to sustainable reduction in our environmental impacts. The research led by CDM Smith does just that. The firm’s contribution facilitated full-scale implementation of innovative water treatment technologies for perchlorate and nitrate, and we are proud to have supported it.” This successful demonstration of MBfR greatly advances the acceptance of biological drinking water treatment in the United States; helps utilities overcome water scarcity issues and comply with increasingly stringent state and federal regulations; reduces environmental waste; and promotes public health and safety.

The team of Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW), CDM Smith, Carollo and RA Consultants used advanced ultraviolet (UV) simulation tools to guide the design of a new $30 million UV disinfection facility at the Richard Miller treatment plant in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 19,600-square-foot facility, which contains eight Calgon Carbon Sentinel® 48-inch Chevron UV reactors—each with five 20-kilowatt medium‐pressure UV lamps—can treat up to 240 million gallons of drinking water per day for more than 1 million customers. By taking an integrated approach to defining the UV facility’s operating strategy, beginning with pre-design and ending with startup testing, GCWW and the consultancy team produced a UV dose monitoring and control system that is arguably the most sophisticated in the industry. It meets multiple disinfection and advanced oxidation treatment objectives, while being fully responsive to varying plant flow and water quality conditions.

CDM Smith provides lasting and integrated solutions in water, environment, transportation, energy and facilities to public and private clients worldwide. As a full-service engineering and construction firm, we deliver exceptional client service, quality results and enduring value across the entire project life cycle.