December 2012, Vol. 24, No.12

Plant Profile

City of Victorville Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility

Profile 1 map Location: Victorville, Calif.
Startup date: Jan. 1, 2010
Service population: 340,000
Number of employees: 3
Design flow: 9500 m3/d (2.5 mgd)
Average daily flow: 1900 m3/d (491,000 gal/d)

Industrial pretreatment facility brings new bottling facility and 200 jobs to Victorville, Calif.

John McGlade, Jim Chaplick, and William Luksha   

When Dr Pepper Snapple (Plano, Texas) presented Victorville, Calif., with the prospect of locating a $125 million manufacturing and distribution plant in the city that would employ 200 people, officials recognized an
opportunity they couldn’t pass up.

A city of just over 100,000 and located about an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, Victorville faced a significant challenge, however, because before Dr Pepper Snapple would commit to this investment, the city had to make its own promise — to construct a wastewater treatment facility to serve Dr Pepper Snapple’s operations. Without a new treatment facility, the project was untenable for the company, because discharge of its high-strength wastewater to the regional publicly owned treatment works would incur large fees.

The drink maker needed the new manufacturing facility to go into production in less than 2 years, requiring that the associated $46 million industrial wastewater treatment plant, supporting utilities, and industrial and domestic collection systems be on-line in time to accommodate that schedule.

The city has built much of its economic development planning around a major industrial center at the Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA) located in Victorville at the former George Air Force Base, which closed in 1992. The city’s long-term plans called for bringing in more major tenants like Dr Pepper Snapple, so discussions about wastewater treatment addressed the need for a dedicated facility that would accommodate continued growth at SCLA.

According to Victorville Mayor Ryan McEachron, “The success of the redevelopment of SCLA depends on the ability of the Airport Authority to attract job-creating industry. Companies like Dr Pepper Snapple have walked away in the past due to the inability to treat their type of high-strength wastewater. The decision to build our own wastewater treatment plant was clearly the correct decision, not just for the successful development of Dr Pepper Snapple’s new processing plant, but also to be ready for the ‘next one.’”


Fast-track schedule gets the job done on time

The city teamed with Woodard & Curran (Portland, Maine) to design and operate the $30 million wastewater treatment facility, and Benham Constructors (St. Louis) was hired to build it. The city’s engineering department was responsible for the design and construction of the collection system, which included 22.5 km (14 mi) of gravity sewer, all utility services to the plant, reclaimed-water distribution lines, and the design of a future solids-disposal line.

All parties fast-tracked the project to meet the schedule. The project was completed in 23 months and went on-line Jan. 1, 2010.

To understand the scope and size of this effort, it helps to visualize a football field with 15 concrete tanks, each measuring 91.4 m long × 18.3 m wide × 6.1 m deep (100 yd long × 60 ft wide × 20 ft deep). The mechanical systems filled the sidelines and end zones.


Design accommodates industrial and sanitary flows

The facility, which is located adjacent to SCLA, is designed to treat a total of 9500 m3/d (2.5 mgd): 3800 m3/d (1 mgd) of industrial flow and 5700 m3/d (1.5 mgd) of sanitary flows.

The entire plant is controlled via a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system wired for Ethernet (TCP /IP) communication. It is equipped with pretreatment, anaerobic, and aerobic treatment operations followed by disinfection to produce high-quality effluent. The plant treats separate flows of sanitary wastewater and the high-strength industrial wastewater from the high-fructose corn syrup content of the company’s product.

Industrial wastewater enters the plant in a separate, dedicated, industrial sewer line and undergoes anaerobic treatment in two 950-m3 (250,000-gal) upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactors to reduce biochemical oxygen demand by 85% — reducing its strength enough so that it can be added to the sanitary flow. The combined flows then undergo activated sludge treatment and clarification in a membrane bioreactor (MBR). 


MBR process generates fewer solids, lowering disposal costs

Solids are thickened in the MBR to a concentration of 3.0% to 4.0%and pumped to the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority for treatment and disposal. The MBR process enables the facility to maintain high mixed liquor concentrations (10,000 mg/L), which facilitates a low solids-generation rate, reducing the volume and, consequently, the cost for disposal.

MBR permeate is treated by ultraviolet disinfection prior to discharge to meet requirements for effluent disposal and water reuse under California Recycled Water Criteria Title 22. All wastewater treated at the plant is reused for irrigation.


Smooth operations keep compliance on track

The plant is staffed by three operators and supported by a senior manager from Woodard & Curran. All work closely with Victorville’s Department of Public Works, Victorville Municipal Utility Service, the Water Department, and the city’s Engineering Department.

In 2011, the facility treated 678,000 m3 (179 million gal), an average of 1900 m3/d (491,000 gal/d). The flow consisted of 510,000 m3 (134.7 million gal) of sanitary flow and 169,000 m3 (44.6 million gal) of industrial flow from the drink maker. Since midyear 2011, the majority of effluent has been pumped to Westwinds Golf Course for irrigation. The remaining portion goes to the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority.

One of the most important requirements when a facility is producing reclaimed water is consistent excellent quality. To date, daily effluent contains no detectable biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, or coliform, and turbidity is less than 0.2 NTUs.


Control systems promote efficiency and address contingencies

All systems are operated, monitored, and controlled from a fully networked SCADA system that is Web-accessible and monitored during off-hours using smartphones and tablets. The facility has both automated and manual controls to prevent the delivery of recycled water that does not meet California’s Title 22 requirements. Final plant effluent is monitored for in-line turbidity, and if it were to exceed the maximum allowed turbidity, a control valve would reroute the effluent to the sewer or back to the treatment plant.

As another means to streamline operations, tablet computers are used to collect data. Data input into the tablets is downloaded automatically to a server that populates monthly operating reports. This process eliminates the need to duplicate data entry. Safety records, maintenance, housekeeping, and rounds data also are collected electronically.

Plans for the future

As Victorville looks to the future, its primary goal is to bring in additional tenants to the SCLA complex, which currently serves various industries, including aviation maintenance, flight testing, warehouse logistics, furniture, and plastics manufacturing. With the high volume of passenger planes flying into Los Angeles, Victorville’s airport is an appealing alternative for dedicated air-cargo operations, because SCLA hosts its own U.S. Customs office, a foreign trade zone, and the second-longest commercial runway in the United States, at 4587 m (15,050 ft). The city hopes to add rail spur lines that would connect the airport to the major Chicago-to-Los Angeles line that runs through town.

City officials are focused on identifying more opportunities for water reuse. Two future possibilities are for treated effluent to be used as cooling-tower makeup at local power plants and to use upflow anaerobic sludge blanket biogas to power and heat the power plant reactors.

Jim Chaplick is a senior vice president at Woodard & Curran (Portland, Maine) and served as project manager for the design of the Victorville, Calif., wastewater treatment facility. William Luksha is senior manager of the Victorville facility. John McGlade is public works director for the City of Victorville. 


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