University Area Joint Authority Enhanced Nutrient Removal Study

The University Area Joint Authority (UAJA) owns and operates a 10.5-mgd advanced wastewater treatment facility. This facility serves the greater State College area, known as the Centre Region, and outlying areas of The Pennsylvania State University. Complete with advanced biosolids composting and wastewater reclamation to drinking water (indirect potable reuse), UAJA operates one of the most advanced processing facilities in Pennsylvania.

Although the facility had previously upgraded to biological nutrient removal (BNR), the continued decline of the Chesapeake Bay and its headwaters would likely require UAJA to make additional modifications in future permit cycles. These modifications could be significant in cost, and as such, UAJA commissioned RETTEW to complete a study for modifying the facility to enhanced nutrient removal (ENR) with levels of total nitrogen below 3 mg/l.

Through process modeling and extensive knowledge of the facility’s operations, RETTEW identified several alternatives to improve the current BNR performance to ENR standards. As an example, we recommended converting the existing monomedia anthracite coal filters to deep bed denitrifcation filters, which will enhance the facility’s current operations. Total estimated capital costs are in excess of $5 million.

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