Morris Forman WWTP Alternative Solids Project Wins Top Design-Build Award

DBIA’s 2004 National Design-Build Award Recognizes Innovative Louisville Biosolids Project as the Year’s Best Large Design-Build Water Project

BlackVeatch announced that the Morris Forman Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Alternative Solids Project, completed by the Black & Veatch/Alberici Constructors Joint Venture design-build team for the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), earned a 2004 National Design-Build Award in the category of water over $15 million. The award is the most prestigious project award conferred by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA). Projects that win the National Design-Build Award frequently break new ground in their approaches and accomplishments.

The DBIA competition recognizes the most outstanding design-build projects in the U.S. and around the world, promoting and documenting the use and effectiveness of design-build delivery. Nearly 100 projects representing more than $4 billion in new construction were nominated for awards consideration this year.

"This project deserved national award recognition because it far exceeded our expectations and exemplified the principles of interdisciplinary teamwork, innovation and problem solving in reaching a unified design-build solution that benefits everyone," said MSD Executive Director H.J. Schardein, Jr.

When the MSD hired the Black & Veatch/Alberici team to eliminate offensive odors and reduce the volume of dewatered sludge at its 105-million-gallon-per-day Morris Forman Wastewater Treatment Plant, the utility had tried for more than 15 years to correct the odor problem that brought daily protests from area residents. The design-build team proposed an alternative solution to the one originally envisioned. The synergistic combination of anaerobic digestion and heat drying has cost-effectively reduced the volume of wastewater solids and produced a marketable Class A "Louisville Green" biosolids product–reducing the utility’s operating costs and reliance on landfill disposal. Converting waste biomass into methane gas and using that gas as well as waste heat recovered from drying operations to fuel plant operations also provides tremendous environmental as well as financial benefits. In total, the improvements are expected to save the MSD as much as $4 million in annual operations and maintenance costs.

The design-build team removed abandoned multiple-hearth incinerators and replaced them with four heat-drying trains, replaced existing centrifuges and vacuum filters with high-solids centrifuges, and rehabilitated and converted equalization/storage tanks to anaerobic digesters. Designing and constructing the largest heat-drying trains in the United States required special measures. The team was also challenged to implement these improvements while the Morris Forman WWTP, which also processes solids from other MSD wastewater facilities, remained operational at all times.

According to the MSD, site information that became available during the course of the project likely would have derailed the project under other contracting approaches, including the traditional design-bid-build project delivery method. Working with the Black &Veatch/Alberici team in the design-build environment, however, proved to be a rewarding experience and a judicious use of public funds.

"The innovative efforts of the project team to develop a best-practice delivery process and green solution resulted in exceptional community acceptance, highly successful MBE/WBE/DBE involvement and, most importantly, the only process and contracting solutions that would have worked for this project," said Schardein. "This project cost nearly $32 million less than we at MSD had initially estimated, dramatically reduced odors for the neighboring community, and developed a marketable fertilizer product that will save our customers money."

The Morris Forman project epitomizes the beneficial application of design-build delivery for water, wastewater and biosolids projects. The integrated design-build approach facilitated the reuse and repurposing of existing structures and resulted in the completion of a complex project ahead of schedule and with substantial cost savings. The DBIA award serves as tangible recognition that the MSD and the Black & Veatch/Alberici design-build team together created value for the people of Louisville.

Black & Veatch

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