The Columbia Heights Membrane Filtration Plant in Minneapolis was named a Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The award will be presented to Minneapolis Water Works, managing agency, along with primary contractor Adolfson & Peterson Construction and primary consultant Black & Veatch Corporation during APWA’s International Public Works Congress and Exposition in San Antonio this September.
APWA Project of the Year awards are presented annually to promote management and administration excellence of public works projects by recognizing alliances between managing agencies, contractors, consultants and their cooperative achievements. This year APWA selected 18 projects in five categories: Disaster or Emergency Construction/Repair, Environment, Historical Restoration/Preservation, Structures and Transportation.
Awarded in the Environment category, $10-100 million range, the new Columbia Heights Membrane Filtration Plant uses ultrafiltration (UF) technology to remove particles so small they cannot be detected by a standard microscope.
Minneapolis’ original water filtration plant was constructed from 1913-1918. While still operational today, the facility is nearing the end of its useful life. Planning for a much-needed filtration facility began in the 1990s. Alternative water treatment processes were studied and evaluated to determine their ability to meet current and future water quality regulations.
The new plant will remove impurities more effectively than required by emerging and increasingly stringent federal drinking water standards. The UF system removes waterborne pathogens and particulate contaminants including microorganisms, such as Cryptosporidium, which have proven difficult to remove or kill using conventional technology. In addition, the facility, which processes up to 70 million gpd, features high-tech and redundant security measures to protect the water supply in a new, post-9/11 environment.
The old filtration plant will be gradually phased out as the primary filtration facility as the new plant reaches optimum capacity, and will then be used as a backup source for water treatment.
The experience of the design team and intimate knowledge of existing facilities by the MWW operations and maintenance staff enabled the team to develop a design that complemented the needs of the existing and new facilities. New, complex treatment processes were integrated into the existing treatment scheme. Changeovers from old to new facilities were anticipated during design and executed smoothly during construction.