Reviving the "Dead Zone"
Green Bay's "Dead Zone" - a swath of oxygen-deprived water - has appeared in the news lately, calling attention to a problem requiring a community-wide solution. NEW Water is already on the case.
For its part, NEW Water is combating the dead zone by implementing "Adaptive Management," (AM) a community-wide approach to reducing phosphorus runoff into waterways.
A "Dead Zone" is an area in a body of water depleted of oxygen, otherwise known as hypoxia, and has been detected by NEW Water's monitoring efforts in the Bay, which have been ongoing since 1986. Data shows that the zone has become bigger, and is lasting longer. Tracy Valenta, Water Resources Specialist for NEW Water, presented a nationally broadcast webinar on the "Dead Zone," upon invitation of the Alliance for the Great Lakes.
New environmental regulations on phosphorus emissions - otherwise known as NR217 - would require NEW Water to build a new plant to treat phosphorus - to the tune of an estimated $300 million. NEW Water discharges an estimated 2% of the total phosphorus discharged to the Bay of Green Bay. In lieu of that, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is allowing clean water facilities to implement AM. Phosphorus sources include industry, agriculture, wastewater treatment facilities, and residents. NEW Water will embark on pilot projects in the near future.
"It's a community wide problem, and we need all hands on deck to solve the problem," said Bill Hafs, Environmental Programs Director for NEW Water.
For media coverage on the issue, read more here.
New Sewer Rule
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on August 1 passed a new rule to address Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs), in a proactive effort toward sewage collection system operation and maintenance. The new rule requires Sewage Collection Systems to provide the DNR with a Capacity, Management, Operations and Maintenance (CMOM) plan. The plan requirements include: operation and maintenance activities, addressing SSOs and backups, plus plans for improvement, among other items. NEW Water will be working with the DNR to learn more about the new rules, and will share further information as it becomes available. The DNR's new rule can be found on their website, specifically in sections (NR 110, NR 205, NR 208 and NR 210) here. Additional information regarding CMOM plans can be found here.
Resource Recovery and Electrical Energy (R2E2) Update
Design of the R2E2 solids handling improvements is well underway. After a successful value engineering review that resulted in $2 million in capital cost reductions, NEW Water staff and its design consultant, CH2M HILL, proceeded to detailed design of the new facilities. The first bid package to provide the fluid bed incinerator system was released for bid on August 30 with bids due in late October. A bid package to provide the dewatering centrifuges will be released for bid in early October. It is expected that both systems will be approved by the Commission for award at the November 27 Commission meeting. Once manufacturers of these two critical systems are determined, final design of the remaining facilities can be completed.
Construction is expected to begin in late spring of 2014 with relocation of the primary electrical feed substation and medium voltage underground electrical cables. After that work is completed, construction of the remaining facilities will begin in late 2014, with completion in early 2018.
National Honors for NEW Water
NEW Water has received the Platinum Award for 100% permit compliance at its Green Bay Facility from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), for 10 consecutive years. Only 157 other facilities across the U.S. received this award for 2012, and only six others received the award for 10 years in a row. The De Pere Facility received a Gold Award for one year of 100% permit compliance.
Teaming Up with the YWCA
The YWCA and NEW Water teamed up this summer to educate kids on water quality issues - as well as offer a glimpse into a hot career track underrepresented by girls: STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). NEW Water was proud to participate in this year's program, offering about 30 children - including a few boys - educational presentations and hands-on experiments. Presentations and experiments included: receiving an overview of the Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Program, wastewater treatment; donning safety goggles for science experiments with the Laboratory (including the creation of "elephant toothpaste"), conducting water sampling and analysis.
Unearthed from the Archives
Check out an informative and entertaining documentary created by the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District in the mid-1970s, watch it here. Other NEW Water posted videos include "Green Bay has a Dead Zone: Now What?", and the "R2E2 Project". Stay tuned to NEW Water's YouTube channel for more videos in the future!
- "What's New at NEW Water." This summer, NEW Water held a customer meeting to offer a picture of what's going on in the organization, from ongoing environmental efforts, to educational outreach, and the budget.
- Time for Innovation. A cross-divisional team has been upgrading NEW Water's Aeration Compressor Controls. Their innovative approach now allows for an automatic start-up process, and will also replace obsolete controllers. The result? Greater work efficiencies, reliability, and cost savings. This is one of NEW Water's many ongoing projects, including many Lean initiatives.
- Sister City Visits NEW Water. This summer, representatives from Irapuato, Mexico toured NEW Water, as part of Mayor Schmitt's Greater Green Bay International Sister Cities Initiative. The partnership aims to share knowledge on government, business - and wastewater treatment.
- Triple A from Moody's. NEW Water received a Triple A Moody's Rating in July, which is testament to an organization's sound fiscal practices. The rating enhances NEW Water's ability to borrow money for less.
- Beautifying De Pere. Three NEW Water staffers took it upon themselves to clean up the Fox River shoreline near the De Pere Facility, removing more than three yards of trash. Jason Derouin, Lizzie Kornowski, and Brandon Burton all chipped in.