The demand for clean water is a steadily rising concern in today’s world. As the human population grows, this need will considerably increase. Many people do not think about where the water that runs out of their faucets actually comes from. In actuality, the water we use today is the same water that was present in the oceans at Earth’s inception. A logical question to follow this insight might be: How are we able to still drink and use water that has been used for billions of years?
The Earth has a water purification system that has consistently provided its various life forms with clean water across the ages. A new problem has arisen in today’s world however. There are too many people who require too much water to rely solely on Earth’s process of renewal. The human response to this increased demand has been to create new ways of water purification. One method of water renewal is wastewater treatment.
Wastewater management is a vital application of science. This process has evolved over hundreds of years from simple disposal far away from villages to the current use of wastewater treatment plants. An excellent example of such a plant is Proctors Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The Proctors Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant serves the southeastern regions of Chesterfield County, VA. The purpose of this plant is to remove contaminants from wastewater and then return clean water to the James River. The plant originally opened in 1975 with a capacity of 1 million gallons per day. Since that time, Proctors Creek has undergone several upgrades to increase its ability to serve the citizens of Chesterfield County. Engineers from several fields were utilized in the planning of these upgrades. The enhancements included the construction of two new digesters, a new sludge holding tank, and upgrades to the mixing system. Interestingly, the facility now utilizes glass-lined piping. Features of these pipes include smoother material flow and reduced particulate buildup. In addition, new pumps and filters have been installed at the plant. A new fine screen facility was constructed for filtration purposes. A biological nutrient reduction (BNR) project completed the upgrades.
The most recent modifications, while not increasing the current Proctors Creek 27 million gallons per day capacity, do allow the plant to run in a more efficient manner. The upgrades enhanced the plants primary, secondary, and tertiary treatment processes as well as augmenting biosolids treatment at the plant. When they were completed, these improvements allowed Proctors Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant to increase its importance to Chesterfield County.
Virginia Standards of Learning - Eighth Grade Math 8.1, 8.3,8.13; Sixth Grade Science 6.1,6.2, 6.7; Life Science LS.1, LS.12; Eighth Grade Physical Science PS. 1, PS. 10.
Engineering Objectives - Design and Build 2.23; Civil Engineering 4.42, 4.44, 4.45.