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FDOH Onsite Wastewater Nitrogen Strategy Named FICE Grand Award Winner

Seven full-scale prototype systems were developed incorporating new nitrogen reduction system designs that achieved consistent performance of over 95% removal of influent wastewater nitrogen.

The components of the project.

The full-scale prototype, which utilized innovative sustainable reactive media for denitrification, demonstrated success in meeting project goals.

An innovative Life Cycle Cost Analysis Tool was developed for the nitrogen reduction system.

Before and after groundwater monitoring demonstrated the benefit of the nitrogen reduction system, as groundwater nitrogen concentrations were reduced from approximately 40 mg/L prior to NRS to background concentration (<5 mg/L) after NRS.

(HOLLYWOOD, FL - December 3, 2015) - The FDOH Onsite Wastewater Nitrogen Strategy project was recently named a FICE Engineering Excellence Grand Award Winner.

Approximately 30% of Florida residents are served by onsite wastewater systems (OWS), commonly known as “septic systems”, and their impact on water quality is of concern, especially as it relates to nitrogen loading in sensitive watersheds such as Florida’s famous springs. In 2009, the Florida Department of Health initiated the Florida Onsite Wastewater Nitrogen Reduction Strategies Study to tackle the problem and to develop strategies to manage and reduce nitrogen loading from OWS to protect groundwater and surface water in the State.

Engineering was performed across the spectrum of services from study and modeling to development, design, construction, operation and maintenance of new, innovative nitrogen reducing OWS. The project integrated key knowledge areas including: scientific principles of nitrogen reduction in engineered and natural environments, field performance of traditional and innovative onsite treatment technology, mathematical modeling to predict the fate and transport of nitrogen in soil and groundwater, and life cycle cost analyses of economic and environmental costs associated with onsite wastewater nitrogen reduction. The evaluation of nitrogen treatment and reduction options included a unique pilot test facility which provided the basis for innovative nitrogen reduction system (NRS) design criteria. Seven full-scale prototype systems were then developed incorporating new NRS designs that achieved consistent performance of over 95% removal of influent wastewater nitrogen. Groundwater monitoring demonstrated the benefit of the innovative NRS by showing a reduction of groundwater nitrogen concentrations to background concentrations following installation. The full scale demonstrations showed that the new OWS designs can consistently meet required treatment goals and water reuse goals, and will help improve the negative public perception of OWS as simply “septic tanks”.

The project is now eligible for the annual FICE Grand Conceptor Award, which will be announced and presented to one of the six Grand Award winners at the FICE Banquet on August 5, 2016.