Capital Region Water Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy Compliance – City of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, PA

Capital Region Water (CRW) owns Pennsylvania’s largest publicly owned treatment works (POTW) in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Each year the CRW Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility (AWTF) discharges over 1,300,000 pounds of total nitrogen (TN) and 104,000 pounds of total phosphorus (TP) to the Susquehanna River.  These discharge amounts are well over the limits set by the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy (CBTS) of 688,575 pounds TN and 91,810 pounds TP, which poses a challenge to CRW achieving compliance.

In 2005, an analysis was conducted and CRW was presented with a solution that involved constructing upgrades at a capital cost of more than $72M and a 20 year present worth of more than $90M.  This alternative could not be implemented due to the cost exceeding CRW’s ability to borrow. In addition, it would have resulted in a substantial increase of sewer rates.

In September 2007, CRW discontinued the design phase of the previously approved alternative and retained HRG to investigate viable alternatives.  After in-depth evaluation of many options, and with the support of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), a first in PA “build some/trade some” approach was selected. “Build some” refers to construction of side-stream treatment facilities and improvements to the high purity oxygen aeration system to remove the nitrogen. “Trade some” refers to the plan to purchase nutrient credits if needed under the Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Credit Trading Program to allow for compliance.  CRW became the first PA POTW to both receive bids for the purchase of credits and adopt side-stream treatment as a selected alternative.

The successful outcome of this intensive study allowed CRW to comply with the CBTS at a capital cost of $49M compared to the previously adopted alternative cost of greater than $72M.  The 20 year present worth of this alternative is approximately $63M compared to more than $90M for the previously adopted alternative.

HRG performed a wide array of services during completion of this project including Act 537 Plan preparation, nutrient credit bidding, side-stream treatment pilot testing, preparation of all necessary permit applications, preparation of all funding applications and funding administration, bidding phase services, and overall program management.   The design was enhanced during completion of the project and it is anticipated that credit purchases will not be required upon project completion.

Client / Owner

Capital Region Water
212 Locust Street, Suite 302
Harrisburg, PA 17102

Project Highlights

  • Recipient of 2010 ACEC/PA Diamond Honor Award, Studies Category
  • First POTW to publicly advertise and receive bids for the purchase of nutrient credits
  • First POTW to select side-stream treatment, a treatment technique which applies convention nutrient removal technology (NRT) to the high strength side-stream flows
  • Utilized a program management approach with HRG serving as Program Manager

Related People

Contact an HRG Water & Wastewater Professional for more information on this project or related services.

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