CONSIDERING THE MERITS OF PUBLIC VS. PRIVATE SECTOR OPERATIONS OF BIOSOLIDS DRYERS AND PRODUCT MARKETING
Abstract:Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities (Utilities) is constructing a new Biosolids Management Project (the Project). The Project includes the addition of a new Andritz triple-pass drum dryer, additional dewatering centrifuges, and digester gas utilization equipment at Utilities' Archie Elledge Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). The new dryer will be fueled, in part, with digester gas. The Project is scheduled for completion in early 2008. Biosolids from Utilities' 30-mgd Archie Elledge WWTP and 21-mgd Muddy Creek WWTP will be processed in the new facilities being constructed in the Project.
Both the Archie Elledge and Muddy Creek WWTPs are currently operated by Utilities' public works staff. With the implementation of the Biosolids Management Project, Utilities is seeking to provide the best-value outcome for its rate payers relative to operations and maintenance of these new facilities and marketing of the pelletized fertilizer product. Utilities' management staff considered the option of developing a private operations and maintenance (O&M) contract for one or more of the following biosolids unit processes—dewatering, drying, hauling, disposal, and/or marketing of the Class A biosolids product. To facilitate this decision-making process, the authors worked together to:
Conduct a workshop that included Utilities' management, operations, and maintenance staff as well as outside consulting specialists to develop alternative public/private operational approaches and identify the strengths/weaknesses of each approach.
Conduct a survey of 13 wastewater utilities across the United States who operate biosolids dryers and market a pelletized product to determine industry experience with a wide variety of operational approaches (i.e., both public sector and private sector operations and product marketing). The survey included a look at how these organizations chose to staff similar facilities and their successes, challenges, lessons learned, and fertilizer end-user coordination.
Conduct in-person site visits with key operations, maintenance, and marketing (OM&M) staff at four of these utilities to discuss, in more detail, their experience in managing similar projects.
Develop an OM&M plan for Utilities' for implementing an effective OM&M Program for the Biosolids Management Project.
The outcome of this initiative was the development of a well defined OM&M Plan and direction for Utilities as it moves forward in completion of its Biosolids Management Project. This paper shares the results of the national survey, the findings from the site visits, and provides insight into Utilities' decision-making process and selected OM&M Plan.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2007
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