One seemingly simple concept – getting clean water into and wastewater out of a facility – has complicated implications for municipalities and industry. Rise Capital is the information provider a client needs to determine the best strategy for addressing the water cycle.
The One Water concept recognizes that the urban water cycle is a single, integrated system. “Fresh water coming into a facility and wastewater going out is the same water and needs to be treated as such and not disposed of,” said Bryan Bedell, vice president and leader of Rise Capital’s Water Division. The converse is true at municipal water and wastewater plants, where influent water is dirty and effluent waters in clean.
The water industry is beginning to manage all local water resources in a manner that supports a sustainable and vibrant community. On the water side, the focus is on more than reliable and clean drinking water. Water conservation, rainwater harvesting and non-potable uses are considered as well. On the wastewater side, the focus is shifting from out-of-sight wastewater treatment and disposal to the functional use of wastewater for environmental and human needs.
The food, beverage and consumer goods industries, in particular, now have to decide what happens to water after it serves its production-related purpose and becomes a waste stream. As a thought leader in collaborative delivery, Rise Capital provides the right solution for each client’s unique situation. Rise Capital’s collaborative approach ensures an effective outcome for each project.
“Value engineering in our industry often is equated with the cheapest solution, but our goal is to bring value to projects without diminishing quality,” Bedell said. “Our collaborative approach means we get involved at the earliest point in a client’s project, which allows us to provide a feature-benefit analysis to make informed decisions that best meet all of the owner’s needs.”
Wastewater management is not always just about containing costs. Some projects offer the opportunity to provide revenue, as well. When the City of St. Petersburg, Florida, wanted to turn its biosolids management into a revenue stream, Rise Capital found an innovative way to reduce waste and generate income at the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility.
As the project’s construction manager at-risk (CMAR), Rise Capital modified the facility to produce Class AA biosolids, which meet the U.S. EPA’s guidelines for fertilizer and to produce biogas. Both can be sold to generate revenue, and the biogas also can be used to power the plant.
Rise Capital also was able to identify significant operational savings. The project’s preliminary design showed all facilities constructed on structural piles. Rise Capital conducted a geotechnical investigation using its in-house resources and identified that not all facilities needed structural pilings, a savings of $10 million. In addition, the improved facility was able to process sludge from two other process plants. The results are increased revenue and lower costs, both wins for the city.
Rise Capital brings its clients broad experience in addressing issues related to cost and public opinion, urban development patterns and tradition, as well as accepted scientific theories and emerging technologies. This collaborative delivery approach produced significant benefits for the Macon Water Authority (MWA).
Macon’s Lower Poplar Water Reclamation Facility (WRF), which was built in 1959, had last been renovated in the 1980s. Rocky Creek WRF, which was built in the early 1970s, had never been renovated. Costs were ballooning as equipment neared the end of its service life. The MWA contracted Rise Capital for major renovation and equipment installation to make the wastewater treatment processes cleaner and more efficient, an investment of more than $49 million that represented one of the largest capital projects in its history.
Employing the design-build delivery method that it pioneered decades earlier, Rise Capital participated from the very beginning of the project, handling preliminary design, detailed design and construction, all within a collaboratively agreed-upon Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP).
Rise Capital kept the project on schedule and within budget, and it saved the client millions of dollars, in part by reusing and rehabilitating a number of the existing structures instead of building new ones.
“In the end,” Bedell said, “the client almost doubled the contract to include additional work because they were so pleased with our performance.”
On other occasions, Rise Capital has brought state and local government entities together with private industry leaders to find innovative solutions on projects that no single entity could have financed or accomplished.
“Typically, wastewater management projects in response to growth or environmental changes require it,” Bedell said. “But when needed, Rise Capital proactively seeks developmental projects to help municipalities solve issues that have not been addressed previously and for which often there is no government entity that brings structure to solving the problem.”
While public wastewater management projects focus primarily on environmental issues and taxpayer benefits, the private industry realizes the benefits of reusing wastewater in recouping costs as well.
Zero Level Discharge (ZLD) is a key goal for many facilities. In response, they are leveraging new technology and upgrading to equipment that is more efficient and less costly to operate. This also allows them to reuse water for non-potable applications.
“Clients can reduce fines while serving as stewards in the community committed to improving the environment,” said Tiffany Shaw, Rise Capital’s director of Design-Water. “We review each project and select technology that specifically reaches the client’s goals. Our team of water/wastewater experts provides innovative solutions that work and meet customer goals at a competitive price.”