When it comes to capital planning, utilities and their consulting partners struggle to keep up with the demands of the future. Scenarios like ever changing regulatory requirements, weather conditions, population models, emerging contaminants, and advances in treatment technology are difficult to plan for. How can utilities effectively assess this range of potential scenarios, especially with limited time and budget?
A utility which serves 1.8 million people in the southern part of the US issued a tender for a Master Plan update for WWRF, a 24 MGD WWTP. In the original tender, the utility had asked responding engineering design consultants to consider three scenarios for the updated Master Plan. While the utility knew it needed more alternatives – including assessing new innovative technologies (MBR, MBBR, MBBR-IFAS, etc.) and/or various flow, loading, and effluent requirement scenarios that could happen in the coming decades – the utility felt this was impossible given budget and time frame constraints.
This utility faced significant challenges as they considered an updated master plan for a Regional WRRF.
- Rising operating costs created a need to assess alternative technologies and unit processes that may serve to lower costs in the future.
- Rapidly changing weather patterns in the south require assessment of different average and peak flows, both now and in the future.
- Changes in influent loading are expected in the coming years.
- Increasingly stringent environmental standards for effluent discharge and sludge disposal.
- Increases in population growth.
Accounting for variability in future planning scenarios
- Increasing OPEX
- Changing weather patterns
- Increasing influent flow
- Growing population
- Stricter effluent limits
After the utility discovered the Transcend Design Generator (TDG), they realised it would be possible to generate conceptual designs and 3D Models for 30+ alternatives for the facility with the same level of effort that was originally planned for 3 alternatives. Just as important, TDG would allow the utility’s engineering partner to spend the vast majority of its time ideating possible alternatives and evaluating the outcomes, as opposed to just generating the documentation.
The utility is in continuous communication with Transcend about leveraging TDG for other master planning updates, and Transcend is working closely with a number of engineering firms on integrating TDG into their business processes around other pursuits and optioneering assessments.
TDG will enable this utility and their EPC partners to assess a range of potential future scenarios that better prepare the utility for unpredictable events in the decades to come. More alternatives assessed in the early stages of this project mean the 1.8 million people the utility serves will ultimately receive an innovative and sustainable WRRF compared to legacy solutions of the past.
Transcend enables us and our consulting engineer partners to evaluate 10x the number of wastewater treatment concepts than we previously could…in considerably less time. It really is a game changer for how master planning and feasibility study work should be done in our industry.