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Monthly Archives:August 2016

Driving Net-Zero at DC Water

THP helps DC Water to reduce greenhouse gases, cut truck trips in half, and produce a class A biosolid fertilizer.

Driving Net-Zero at DC Water


Looking to lower operating costs, reduce its carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) implemented a series of projects at the Blue Plains advanced wastewater treatment plant (AWWTP), including a new biosolids processing main process train (MPT).

This project brings a new focus on recovering resources. The digesters allow us to extract valuable nutrients, energy and carbon from the wastewater and make use of these resources within our service area. 

CDM Smith, in an equal joint venture with PC Construction, partnered with DC Water on the design-build delivery of the MPT project, which incorporates Cambi’s thermal hydrolysis process (THP)—the first facility in the United States to use this technology, and the largest Cambi plant in the world.

The Blue Plains AWWTP serves more than 2 million residents in densely populated Washington, D.C., USA, and in surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia. The 153-acre plant has an average capacity of 370 million gallons per day and a peak capacity of more than 1 billion gallons per day—an expensive, energy-intensive operation.

Incorporating Cambi THP
While DC Water had already developed a successful biosolids reuse program, upgrading the facility provided considerable additional economic and environmental benefits. Originally, the utility pursued a design that used anaerobic digestion—a process that would have required 10 large, egg-shaped digesters—but building the digesters proved expensive, and the utility considered alternative approaches.

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