The City of Batesville, Arkansas, needed to replace its 30-year-old wastewater treatment system because it had reached maximum capacity and struggled to keep up as usage continued to rise.
A new and innovative wastewater treatment plant was needed that could meet new stringent effluent limits, add additional treatment capacity, and help attract new industries and more jobs to the area.
The city worked with our firm to design and engineer a moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) wastewater treatment system—the first of its kind in Arkansas. The new water treatment system, the largest MBBR system in the United States, delivers a flexible, cost-effective, easy-to-operate system that can be quickly expanded as needed.
We designed a wastewater facility comprised of a system of lagoons, a basin, and the MBBR. The MBBR treats wastewater through an organic process by applying vigorous aeration to the wastewater treatment tanks, which contain millions of small plastic media. The plastic media creates an enhanced environment, which in turn improves the efficiency of the treatment process. The plant’s discharge goes directly into the White River, and the system works so well it is discharging a much higher quality water than that required by the permit.
Our team provided the project’s engineering and design work, devised the facility plan process, and secured environmental permits.
A major part of the project involved replacing the system’s main pump station, which discharged the sewage to the treatment facility through a 24-inch pipeline along the bank of the White River. We took advantage of the natural landscape and designed a tunnel through a mountain between the city and the wastewater treatment system. The tunnel was large enough to hold a 60-inch-diameter pipe.
The tunnel allows the new facility to use about a third of the energy the former system needed, which saves the city nearly $100,000 every year.
The wastewater treatment system will have a lasting impact on Batesville and its residents while maintaining the environment of the White River.
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