CE 415 Field Trips Frequent and Varied Spring 2009

by Ltc. Charles Bott 

Students in CE 415—Environmental Engineering Unit Process Design Course—taught by Col. Wane Schneiter, with the assistance of Lt. Col. Charles Bott, took many trips during the term to various industrial and municipal sites to show students firsthand the facilities, technologies, systems, and procedures.  Field trips concentrated on observing the wide range of unit processes covered as part of this course.

C.R. Hudgins Plating, Lynchburg, VA—Hudgins is a finishing company that does zinc electroplating, powder coating and hardware insertion.  Committed to EPA requirements and waste minimization, the company recycles more than half of its containers, scrap metal and other non hazardous material and more than 95 percent of its hazardous waste.  Wastewater treatment processes targeting the removal of heavy metals were the focus of this tour.

415 class at MeadWestVACoPilgrim’s Pride Poultry Processing Plant, Timberville, VA, and the Town of Broadway Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant—Cadets first visited the Pilgrim’s Pride processing plant in Timberville for a tour of the poultry processing facility, the rendering plant, and the wastewater pretreatment system.  The tour was then continued at the Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant which is responsible for the treatment of both industrial and municipal waste streams.  The Broadway plant currently employs lagoon treatment and effluent land application processes, but construction is underway to install enhanced nutrient removal processes for discharge to the Shenandoah River.  Cadets saw firsthand how a large company and a municipality jointly manage wastewater from the processing of poultry.

WestVACo Paper Mill, Covington, VA--Cadets travelled to Westvaco Corporation’s pulp and paper mill.  The mill recovers and reuses chemicals, monitors atmospheric and wastewater emissions, and practices multiple recycling efforts.  The tour was focused on the industrial wastewater treatment plant and air emissions control systems.

Miller Coors Brewery Wastewater Treatment Plant, Elkton, VA—In  2007, MillerCoors began the process of brewing the beer it packages instead of shipping it from Colorado.  This very popular field trip included a tour of the new 7-million-barrel-per- year brewery, packaging operations and the wastewater treatment plant, which includes a unique anaerobic process and activated sludge.  This facility is also being upgraded for enhanced nutrient removal.

Cadets-at-Coors-BreweryApril 13-14 trip to Northern Virginia to Dalecarlia WTP and Blue Plains WWTP in Washington, DC, Corbalis Water Treatment Plant in Fairfax Counties, Broad Run Water Reclamation Plant in Loudoun County, and Avtex Fibers Superfund Site, Front Royal—The class took a trip to Northern Virginia April 13-14 to visit several sites of interest, starting with the Avtex Fibers Superfund site, a former rayon manufacturing facility in Front Royal, VA.  The tour was focused on environmental remediation efforts associated with the manufacturing plant (sewer removal) and former waste disposal basins.  Cadets also toured the wastewater treatment facility associated with this site including, a moving bed biofilm reactor for leachate treatment and multimedia sand filtration and granular activated carbon adsorption for stormwater management.

The next stop was the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (AWTP) in Washington, DC, which is the largest advanced wastewater treatment facility in the world, with an average flow of 370 MGD and a peak wet weather input of over one billion gallons per day.

The Washington Aqueduct, owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, supplies drinking water to Washington, D.C., and some of Northern Virginia.  The system obtains source water from the Potomac River and includes two treatment plants.  The tour was given by the father of Cadet Sean Peterson ’09, Mr. John W. Peterson, who is the Superintendent of the Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant.  This plant has a capacity of 220 MGD and is currently under construction for solids handling upgrades.  The tour included a detailed look at process control systems, electrical systems, and construction upgrades.

After spending the evening at a hotel near Dulles airport, the next stop was the Fairfax Water Authority’sCorbalis Water Treatment Plant.  This facility also uses water from the Potomac River and supplies drinking water to portions of Fairfax, Loudon, and Prince William Counties.  The plant is currently under construction to expand the capacity of the plant to 225 MGD.   The plant employs several unique processes including ozonation and biologically active filtration.  This is a very modern water treatment plant and cadets were impressed with the size and complexity of the facility.

The last stop was the Broad Run Water Reclamation Facility, a brand new green-field advanced wastewater treatment plant that serves eastern Loudoun County.  The plant has very stringent discharge permit limits that require sophisticated treatment in the form of membrane bioreactors, enhanced nutrient removal, and granular activated carbon adsorption.  Operations started only very recently at this facility, and cadets were able to see the product of a high quality construction project.  This is a very high tech facility, and most commented on the fact that this was the only wastewater treatment plant that they had been to that didn’t smell like, or even appear to be, a wastewater treatment plant.