2015 Environmental Engineering Winners

1st Prize – Team 3: UConn Water Reuse Management Plan

Sponsored by- Woodward & Curran

Sponsor Advisors – Mike Burns

Team: Nicole Anagnostaras, Adam Dassouki, Kristen Montes-de-Oca, Daniel Thompson

Faculty Advisor – Allison MacKay

In May of 2013 the University of Connecticut celebrated the opening of the new Reclaimed Water Facility. The building treats effluent from UConn’s Water Pollution Control Facility for use at the University’s Central Utilities Plant, in the place of potable well water. The University’s Central Utilities Plant is the largest on-campus consumer of water, and substituting potable water for reclaimed wastewater significantly reduces campus water usage. The Central Utilities Plant uses the water primarily for steam creation in the boilers with some additional needs for cooling. Shortly after the Reclaimed Water Facility went into operation, the Central Utilities Plant began noticing a higher than anticipated increase in conductivity levels. To prevent conductivity from reducing the lifespan of the equipment at the Central Utilities Plant, interim steps of partial blending, or exclusive use, of well water were implemented. The goal of this project is to design a solution that provides boiler water makeup with conductivity level of below 20 μS/cm from the reclaimed water facility.

High conductivity waste streams from the boilers and cooling towers are sent to the UConn Water Pollution Control Facility, then to the Reclaimed Water Facility, and finally back to the Central Utilities Plant. This arrangement of the three facilities results in a semi–closed loop of water. Our approach was to develop a conceptual model of all three facilities and to use mass balance analyses to determine the root causes of the current problems. Water softener operation in the Central Utilities plant is the predominant source of elevated conductivity levels. Salts in the softeners return back to the Water Pollution Control Facility and effectively re-cycle through the system. We proposed a Water Reuse Management Plan that uses both engineering and management solutions. In our final plan, we outlined some possible design options to pursue, including upgrading the CUP’s lift station and removing high conductivity water to be treated offsite, adding additional treatment steps to the Reclaimed Water Facility, and managing chemical additions and disinfection steps throughout the system.