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The Never Built, "Best Designed" Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant!

The Never Built, "Best Designed" Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Then World!
by Dave Evans

Here is a special picture and the "rest of the story"!

Circa about 1973/1974, just before the Christmas holidays, Dave, his wife, Carol, and their two sons were suddenly moved with wrapped Christmas presents and suitcases from the Corvallis, OR, Office to the Reston, WDC Office. Dave's 12-hour, 6-day-per-week assignment (according to Gene Suhr and John Filbert) was to get the "damned" predesign finished for the world's then, and likely today's, largest (100+ million-gallon-per-day) advanced wastewater treatment plant (AWWTP) ever dreamed of. Carol's unpaid job was to keep the office cars full of gas during long waiting lines and special gas refill days during a gasoline shortage while raising two boys. The assignment, with important help from Al Wollman and new hires, Sheldon Barker and Ed Prestamen, was to complete this predesign in about 3 to 4 months.

What was included in a unique, one of its kind, "best designed" AWWTP facility? Of course, it was its size, continuation of the CH2M HILL Lake Tahoe AWWTP processes and the Occoquan beginnings, and an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consent decree that mandated cleanup of that reach of the Potomac River. This design included, for the first time, the movement of activated carbon, bulk lime, bulk chlorine, and incineration ash in rail cars by an AWWTP-specified and -owned diesel switch engine rail cars, over a "switch yard" rail track system before CH2M HILL had even entered the Transportation Market. The design also included piping explosive hydrogen gas, with an odor additive, through a piping gallery system from a liquid process "break point" nitrogen removal and sea water chlorine generation processes to fuel waste solids incineration, lime recalcination, and carbon regeneration processes being designed by a great Seattle Office team led by Bill Edwards.

The final design needed a 1-year final completion because of a then EPA consent decree. Dave was buried and needed help managing the Liquid Process designs, so the firm moved Gene Suhr ("his Boss"), at Dave's request, back to CVO to "work" for Dave and to help his teams to cope with the overwhelming "span of control" issues (Dave's past military term for too many cooks in the kitchen)!

The picture was prepared by Dave and the Corvallis Office to represent people and their roles as part of a very special client visit to the office during the final design. Looking back today at this picture, one sees many people who went on to play other important roles in the development of CH2M HILL.

Of course, this project, while fully designed, was never constructed. The project was cancelled by the then EPA once they re-evaluated the AWWTP grant-funded construction costs and the Potomac River cleanup needs!