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The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) was created in 1996 to operate and maintain the District's wastewater collection and treatment plant and water distribution system. DC WASA collects and treats wastewater for more than two million people in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The utility operates the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) Plant, a complex wastewater facility that is the world's largest plant of its kind.

Despite consistently high treatment levels, the facility has historically been relatively lowtech in its use of and dependence on automation to manage and run the various unit processes. Wastewater treatment at Blue Plains is provided by a two-stage activated sludge system that is followed by multimedia filtration. Annual average flow is 370 MGD with a maximum wet-weather flow of 1,076 MGD.

In the 1970s, the plant was considered a leader in process treatment and evaluation. Since the creation of WASA in 1996, the organization has embarked on a multi-year, multi-partner capital investment program – projected to exceed 1 billion – to bring all facilities up to “World Class” standards and assure long-term, reliable treatment, while improving the efficiency of delivering a quality effluent. The dilemma for the utility was this: How to obtain an advanced, effective Process Control and Computer System (PCCS) in a large construction effort covering multiple construction projects over a 10-year period? The answer was a separate, more manageable, 65 million PCS and SCADA design and implementation program.

This project is the implementation of a comprehensive, long-term automation management strategy. The project, which interfaces to construction of 16 new facility upgrade projects, is slated to finish in 2010. Upon completion, it will provide centralized decision-making by monitoring and controlling processes at the plant. This paper will explore how DC WASA and its consulting partners managed a project of this magnitude to achieve the desired result.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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