Innovative Glycerol Facility Named ACEC National Recognition Award Winner

Under this project, NYCDEP installed (at the 26th Ward WWTP) the world’s first supplemental glycerol storage and feed system exclusively targeting the Separate Centrate Treatment process.

The 26th Ward WWTP, as shown in this aerial photograph, sits at the nexus of urban development and the natural environment.

Implementation of supplemental glycerol addition at 26th Ward has significantly reduced Nitrogen discharges to Jamaica Bay and contributed to improved water quality for this precious waterbody.

Methanol (the common alternative to glycerol in the wastewater industry) is highly toxic, flammable, and only available through limited international vendors. In contrast, glycerol (a byproduct of Biodiesel generation) is safe, sustainable, and being locally produced at several locations in Brooklyn and Queens.

Performance of the glycerol facility exceeded client expectations, improving Total Nitrogen removal rates by 67 percent from the SCT. Through adoption of glycerol addition December 2011, DEP is projected to attain three future Nitrogen limit stepdowns in Jamaica Bay over the next decade.

Prior to the study and testing of glycerol, DEP had considered the adoption of an Ammonia Recovery Process (ARP) – an upgrade that would have cost approximately $30 million and was projected to achieve similar results. The facility needed to perform the successful glycerol addition cost $1.5 million, enabling the City to negotiate the elimination of the ARP process from its planning with the State regulatory authority.

(NEW YORK, NY – March 5, 2013) – The glycerol facility at 26th Ward Wastewater Treatment Plant in Jamaica Bay (NY) has been named an ACEC National Recognition Award Winner for 2013.

The facility, which recently completed its first year of operations, demonstrated impressive results in preventing water pollution at a much lower cost than traditional methanol facilities. The facility was developed as part of New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP’s) Research and Development (R&D) Project for Nitrogen Removal. As part of this project, the use of glycerol to treat wastewater was pilot tested and then implemented as an innovative wastewater treatment technique, placing into service the first separate centrate treatment (SCT) wastewater facility in the United States utilizing glycerol to remove nitrogen at the 26th Ward WWTP.

As the first application in the United States to employ glycerin to denitrify a high strength ammonia waste stream in a SCT process, the project demonstrates a breakthrough in wastewater treatment. The glycerol facility has resulted in 67 percent reduction in the effluent nitrogen from SCT, decreasing discharges from 5,800 lb/day of total inorganic nitrogen in December 2011 to 1,900 lb/day of total inorganic nitrogen today.

As a result of this project, the City has selected glycerol to use at all of its plants since it was proven to be safer to handle, more sustainable, and more cost-effective than methanol. Many municipalities are faced with more stringent wastewater effluent permit requirements to reduce their discharge of nitrogen. Major initiatives to reduce nitrogen loading to the Long Island Sound, Chesapeake Bay, and Gulf of Mexico are underway to improve water quality in these high nutrient, low oxygen water bodies. The results of the City’s research can be applied to hundreds of wastewater facilities that discharge to these and other water bodies where the oxygen content is depleted by organic nutrients.

Since our founding in 1951, Hazen and Sawyer has focused on two things: providing safe drinking water and controlling water pollution. Our range of services encompasses the planning, design, and construction management of water and wastewater-related projects – from clean water treatment, storage, and distribution to wastewater and stormwater collection, treatment, and reuse.

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