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Joliet, Illinois

2022 ACEC Illinois Engineering Excellence Special Achievement Award

The City of Joliet, Illinois and Donohue received an ACEC Illinois Engineering Excellence Special Achievement Award for the Eastside WWTP Phosphorus Removal project. This project addressed new regulatory requirements and outdated facilities, resulting in a modern plant producing a high quality effluent, an improved working environment, and enhanced community relations.

The process improvements focused on site-specific biological phosphorus removal to meet new NPDES total phosphorus permit limits of 1 mg/L without adding expensive new tankage and avoiding costly chemical usage for long durations. Other changes include new thickening equipment to decrease the water content of the digesters and biosolids storage tanks and increase treatment and storage capacity. Land application and disposal requirements are now reduced and future biogas production is optimized. Through careful construction sequencing, the updates were made while the plant was kept in continuous operation.

A new environmentally-conscious administration building to support modern operations and management replaced an outdated and undersized administration building. Native plants and green best management practices (BMPs) were incorporated to reduce maintenance costs and improve the natural environment. The new administration building and naturally landscaped buffer zone improve the facility’s aesthetic appearance to adjacent residential neighborhoods. The original administration building was re-purposed into a process control building to provide updated and expanded process control room and laboratory facilities.

The improvements allow the WWTP to meet updated effluent limits while increasing operational flexibility and creating a foundation for future improvements to energy and operational efficiency. This project was also the final piece to allow nutrient trading between Joliet’s Eastside and Westside WWTPs, the first nutrient trading in Illinois.

Engineering Excellence awards recognize quality engineering achievements. Entries are judged on the basis of excellence in design, the degree to which the client’s needs are met, as well as benefit to the public welfare and to engineering practices. Learn more at https://www.acecileea.com/projects2022/sa4.php.