City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities

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1 City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities Wastewater Treatment Plant EMS Case Study Profile City of Richmond (COR), home to the James River, is in the heart of Virginia and known for its pleasant waterfront and scenic skyline. Department of Public Utilities (DPU) provides water, wastewater and stormwater management services to nearly 120,000 residential and commercial customers in the Richmond metropolitan area and in excess of 500,000 citizens. COR provides environmental stewardship by striving to meet the green expectations and goals of its citizens and customers. DPU has made an ongoing commitment to the COR values through its COFE program; Customer satisfaction, Operational excellence, Financial growth and stability, Employee pride and ownership. The wastewater treatment facility operates along the south bank of the James River. The facility is permitted to treat 45 MGD dry weather flow and a minimum of 75 MGD wet weather flow. Richmond's wastewater treatment facility serves customers in the city, Henrico, Chesterfield, and Goochland counties. The facility is one of the largest of its kind in Virginia. The wastewater utility also operates and maintains 1,500 miles of sanitary sewer, pumping stations, 38 miles of intercepting sewer lines, the Shockoe Retention Basin and McCloy Tunnel, and operates the combined sewer overflow (CSO) control program. The facility has Pretreatment, Laboratory, Technical Services, Engineering, and Financial/Administrative sections to support plant operations and maintenance. Page 1 of 7

2 Fenceline DPU operates the wastewater treatment facility at 1400 Brander Street in Richmond, Virginia 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Ninety-eight employees are located at the Plant, 28 in Operations, 29 in Collections, 24 in Maintenance, 5 in Pretreatment and 12 in Laboratory/Administrative capacities. For purposes of this EMS, we defined our fence line as the property lines of the facility itself plus the Shockoe Retention Facility and the James River to the limits of the allocated mixing zone. The treatment facility property lines can be described as to the East the James River, to the west Interstate 95; to the South the fence line of the adjacent property, and to the north, the security fence. Core Team The Core Team consists of employees from different areas within the division; looking at the wastewater treatment facility and its processes through different eyes gave us a well-rounded perspective. The members include Clair Watson, Operations Superintendent, Eric Whitehurst, Operations Superintendent, Annette Logan, Financial and Statistical Analyst, Grace LeRose, Chief Chemist, and Shawn Hall, Office Specialist. Barbara Jackson, Biosolids Supervisor, along with Clair Watson and Eric Whitehurst are also members of the Biosolids EMS Team. In order to perpetuate the gains we have made and to plan for the future, we have designated the next EMS team. Key Drivers There are many challenges facing the City of Richmond (COR) Department of Public Utility s (DPU) wastewater utility. Increasing pressure for more sustainable practices for cleaner water and biosolids at a cost affordable to ratepayers; maintaining a sustainable workforce to operate and maintain new and improved technology for cleaner water; increasing costs for energy used in the process of making cleaner water and biosolids, growing public concerns about public health risk and increasingly stringent regulations for cleaner and cleaner water returned to the environment for reuse. The development of our EMS program is in response to these challenges. The implementation of the EMS includes the City s commitment to continuous improvement to the land application of the biosolids program. The City s contractor drives through and operates in neighboring jurisdictions and applies biosolids to agricultural lands on farms with neighbors who need to be provided the same level of operational excellence we provide citizens to the City. Page 2 of 7

3 Implementing EMS goes beyond regulatory, contract compliance, and supports the commitment to operational excellence In addition, the COR DPU implementation of EMS will qualify the wastewater treatment facility to achieve Exemplary Environmental Enterprise (E3) designation by the DEQ. All of the potential benefits associated with this status under Virginia law are potentially advantageous to the COR DPU wastewater utility to address the challenge of affordable cost to the taxpayer. Developing and implementing an EMS for the biosolids land application program and the wastewater treatment facility will encourage superior environmental performance through the development and pollution prevention culture among the employees at the wastewater utility. EMS culture drives environmental excellence in our daily duties and encourages us to show a proud and strong environmental record, going above and beyond the legal requirements for a cleaner and safer environment. Significant Aspects & Impacts The core team analyzed the organization s activities and evaluated the potential for adverse environmental impacts, the extent of potential impacts, environmental controls currently in place and the ability to manage and /or influence impacts. The core team initiated an internal outreach program designed to inform facility personnel about EMS, solicited input, and helped in identifying potential environmental aspects and impacts. The primary tools used for the outreach program was All-Hands-On-Safety- Meetings and each core team member met with different trades and groups within the fence line. This included maintenance (electricians, mechanics, and instrument technicians), laboratory personnel, strong waste pretreatment group, collections, warehouse, administration group and operations. We used this as our primary tool for collecting information on potential environmental aspects and their associated impacts. Members of the core team rated each aspect based on newly established criteria (permit compliance, effect on the environment, public perception and conservation of natural resources). We rated each aspect between one and five. The scores were added and the aspects with the highest scores became the focus of the EMS. The team developed and rated over 50 environmental aspects and selected the top three: Nutrient (Phosphorous) Reduction Biosolids Energy Conservation Page 3 of 7

4 Objectives & Targets The Team evaluated each significant aspect in order to set objectives and targets. We looked at the activities, services and policy commitments in order to set the objectives, targets, target dates and performance indicator(s): Significant Aspect Nutrient (Phosphorus) Reduction Management Program: Operations, Chemical Handling/Dosing Activity/Product/Service: Wastewater Treatment Policy Commitment Nutrient General Permit Compliance Objective: Reduce Total Phosphorus Discharge Loading Target: Reduce discharge loading by10% Target Date March, 2009 Performance Indicator(s): Final Effluent Loading Results: The 2007 average daily loading of the final effluent for total phosphorus was 193 kg/day. Our goal for 2008 was a 10% reduction or 175 kg/day. To date in 2008, we have achieved a loading of 147 kg/day, or a 28.3 % reduction from 2007 levels of phosphorus discharged to the James River and ultimately to the Chesapeake Bay. This has been a great success for the facility. Significant Aspect Biosolids Management Program: Reduction of solids (dry standard tons), sent off plant for land application/disposal Activity/Product/Service: Solids Treatment Minimization of environmental impact to land, cost savings Policy Commitment: for disposal Objective: Optimize dewatering centrifuge operations, reduce disposal costs Target: Maintain 24 % solids of centrifuge cake Target Date June 2008 Performance Indicator(s): % solids of cake Results: In 2007 the average % solids of dewatering cake was 20.9 %. We set a goal of 24 % and achieved an annual average of 22.7 %, an 8.6 % increase. Since June 1, 2008, we have reached 24.6 %. The facility has realized a savings of $368, in reduced hauling costs versus FY COR is approaching this goal and measurement will document continuous improvement. Page 4 of 7

5 Significant Aspect Management Program: Activity/Product/Service: Policy Commitment: Objective: Energy Conservation Reduction in power usage Wastewater Treatment (Solids handling) Pollution prevention, Reduction in electricity use & green house gases Reduce usage Target: Reduce usage by 10% Target Date September, 2008 Performance Indicator(s): Results: kilowatt usage Our average kilowatt usage is 2.41 kwh per month. To date, we are averaging 2.45 kwh per month, a 2.2 % increase. The observed increase in usage may be due to non-routine maintenance activity and treating increased combined flow through the facility as required by permit. We anticipate a decrease in power usage after installation of motor panels in the dewatering and thickening centrifuge buildings. After training on the operation of the panels in Summer 2008 we expect to begin seeing a decrease in power usage. We will document the results quarterly and report to management during the management review. Page 5 of 7

6 Benefits of Adopting an EMS EMS has provided an opportunity to focus on development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and training. We developed a two-year program to train employees on critical procedures. This program ensures better-trained employees and ensures we are meeting our permit limits through application of training. Through implementation of critical aspects, we have shown improvement in facility operations. An increase in biosolids cake percent solids (18% to 24%) resulted in a reduction to contractor hauling costs. In nutrient removal, we have lowered phosphorus loading by over 10%, improving the health of the James River and Chesapeake Bay. EMS has created employee awareness of energy usage as we strive to meet our goal. EMS has stimulated employees to strive to meet our critical aspects. Successful implementation of EMS will lead to additional environmental, financial and management improvements. The plant has realized $ 368,335 in reduced hauling costs for biosolids and $23,996 reduction in polymer costs. This is due to increasing the percent solids of the cake from 20 % to 24 %. The plant has reduced the amount of phosphorus that is discharged to the James River and ultimately to the Chesapeake Bay by 92.4 lbs/day. In 2008, we have reduced our discharge compared to 2007 levels by over 16,700 pounds of phosphorus. Next Steps Continuation of a successful EMS depends on several factors allocation of resources, management commitment, training of employees to the EMS way of thinking and a succession plan bringing new eyes and fresh ideas. The core team has already identified the next generation of team members and is beginning to train them by having them participate in the team meetings and audit preparation. We believe that consistent effective communication about EMS goals and objectives, as well as a culture of continuous improvement will lead to a successful EMS. The next steps for COR will be to focus on the next objectives identified by the new team. Page 6 of 7

7 Costs/Labor Resources The analysis below is for the labor hours, labor cost, and all other costs associated with the development and implementation of the EMS program from March 2007 through May Labor Hours Environmental Management Representative 3.5 Internal Labor Consultants 2.0 Total Hours Cost Factors Internal Labor Costs $18, Travel Costs $25, Materials $ 3, Total $47, Top Management Involvement & Commitment Robert Steidel, Deputy Director for wastewater, water, and storm water, has been a supporter of EMS efforts. Mr. Steidel states developing and implementing EMS for the wastewater treatment facility and the biosolids land application program will encourage superior environmental performance through the development and implementation of an environmental management and pollution prevention culture among the employees. Christopher Beschler, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer has also been instrumental in the wastewater EMS; he looks forward to successful implementation and expansion of EMS and COR and participation in Virginia Regional Environmental Management System (VREMS). Page 7 of 7

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