Woodard & Curran’s operations group is composed of highly trained, experienced industry professionals who work together to make sure each project is run efficiently. Our operations expertise and troubleshooting experience allow us to identify performance limiting factors in design, management, operations, and maintenance that affect compliance, capability to perform, maintenance, and capital costs.
Operations assistance often begins with a Management Assessment Profile (MAP), our update of the EPA’s traditional Comprehensive Plant Evaluation. We use the MAP to evaluate all aspects of the plant, from performance and infrastructure conditions, to staff skill levels. Then we identify how to maintain compliance and get the most out of a client’s facility by optimizing existing assets before considering costly capital investments. We often augment a MAP with an energy audit to add that important information to our evaluation.
A Woodard & Curran MAP can be built into a facility plan to more cost-effectively and thoroughly complete facility planning for long-term needs. Alternatively, it can be focused on identifying innovative approaches to reduce operating costs or for developing a strategic plan for management and staff. MAPs can even redefine and re-engineer utility operations from the ground up, leading to dramatic performance improvements and cost savings.
Regional Water Utility Operational Assistance
City of Lowell, MA
Woodard & Curran has been providing operational support to the Lowell Regional Water Utility since 1996, when we completed a Management and Operation Assessment of the Utility. Based on our assessment, the client implemented a staffing realignment and improvements to the treatment facility’s operations and maintenance, greatly improving efficiency with significant cost savings for the city.
Additional operational support has included:
- Electrical rate and usage study;
- Detailed energy audit on high-service equipment;
- Replacement of high lift pumps saving approximately $200,000 in electricity annually;
- Assistance related to treatment process and chemical feed optimization;
- SCADA system implementation resulting in staff reduction through attrition;
- Engineering assistance with air quality permitting for the standby generator; and
- Studies related to the replacement of the City’s larger commercial and industrial meters and a meter radio read system.
Water Treatment Facility Chemical and Process Control Optimization
Woodard & Curran evaluated water treatment chemical use at Billerica’s water treatment facility and developed processes to enhance the coagulation process dosing strategy to ensure efficient chemical use. The reduced alum and potassium hydroxide dosing strategy lowered chemical costs by $180,000 per year—equivalent to nearly 50% of the original cost for both alum and potassium chloride in the past.
In addition, we developed and instituted process control enhancements to ensure the reduced dosing strategy was successful. Low-cost steps, including improved standard operating procedures, improved process data management, and operator training contributed to Billerica’s successful cost savings efforts.
Water Treatment Facility Staffing and System-wide Optimization
Haverhill intended to operate its water treatment plant unattended for the third shift due to an extreme shortage of available licensed operators. The City turned to Woodard & Curran for assistance to accomplish that goal. The project required working closely with Haverhill’s operations staff to improve critical process monitoring instrumentation, improve treatment process controls, enhance the treatment plant’s SCADA system, improve radio communication with the water systems remote sites for reliable communications, develop a remote paging alarm system, and develop site specific Standard Operating Procedures and an Emergency Response Plan for unattended operations.
Additionally, critical components of the treatment trains were automated and monitored by the SCADA system for effective alarm and ultimate plant shutdown notifications to staff. Additional assistance is also being provided for the improvement of the security monitoring system and in completing an energy audit of the treatment plant.
Water Treatment Facility Coliform Level Troubleshooting
When routine testing found high coliform levels in the Town’s water in the summer of 2006, Woodard & Curran was called upon to provide professional guidance and recommended solutions for system compliance. Within a one-week timeframe we identified lack of turnover in the water tanks, reduced chlorine residuals within the distribution system and elevated water temperatures due to the existing heat wave as the primary causes of the problem.
Passive mixing systems were recommended and installed in two of the three storage tanks, a retrofit of the well and tank sites with tablet chlorine disinfection delivery systems to ensure more consistent disinfection were also recommended. Additionally, an aggressive water system operating plan was implemented which balanced tank levels, pump station activity and system demands to improve tank turnover and reduce residence time within the distribution system. In conjunction to this plan an unidirectional flushing program was also implemented. The problem did not recur in 2007 and in fact, the water quality within the distribution greatly improved.