Michele Braas, project manager (left) and Dennis Hammaker, senior engineer, pose with the award

Michele Braas, project manager (left) and Dennis Hammaker, senior engineer, pose with the award

RETTEW is pleased to announce the firm’s project, Highspire Borough Authority Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades, was named a 2013 Premier Project by Dauphin County in the infrastructure category. The award is given to projects that aid communities as they make planning decisions, promote smart growth and spark revitalization.

“We are proud to have been a part of a project with such long-lasting effect on the community and the environment,” said Yves Pollart, Vice President at RETTEW.

Undertaken in support of Pennsylvania’s strategy to reduce pollution within the Chesapeake Bay, the $10 million upgrades to the treatment plant reduced nutrient discharge levels through an improved biological removal process. Serving the Borough of Highspire as well as neighboring portions of Lower Swatara Township, the Authority worked with RETTEW to complete an analysis of the existing plant to define what changes were needed to meet new nitrogen and phosphorus output limits. Upon completion of the study, the Authority selected RETTEW to proceed with design and permitting for the upgrades. The construction was challenging because it required retrofitting of the existing facility during a short time frame while it remained in full operation. RETTEW also assisted in securing a $5 million grant from the H2O PA grant program, helping the Authority avoid significant rate increases.

Upgrades included a phased oxidation ditch; new influent pump station; new return sludge pump station, one new final clarifier, a supplementary carbon feed facility; a 2,000-square-foot control building, and two new primary clarifier/sludge thickeners. RETTEW worked hard to incorporate the changes into the existing facility and its footprint and to avoid encroaching on local green space. Coordination and collaboration occurred between the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Highspire Borough, the Authority, Swatara Township, local legislators, and the public to successfully complete the project. As a result of the improvements to the treatment plant, Highspire’s effluent nitrogen concentration was one of the State’s lowest in 2012.

“We enjoy working closely with our clients to find the perfect solution for them,” Pollart said. “And it’s especially important to us as a firm to help improve the communities we live and work in, as well as to protect the environment.”

The Premier Project Award is bestowed annually by the Dauphin County Board of Commissioners and the Dauphin County Planning Commission. The four categories for project entry are community capacity, infrastructure, revitalization and sustainable growth, with both small and large project awards in each section. Projects are judged on their effectiveness, ease of replication, community involvement and partnerships, smart growth, and comprehensive planning.