Credit: Photos: Jim Strickland/Black Star

Chuck Hill, Bryan Blake, Glen Whisler, and Kevin Eberle (from left) watch the BNR system in action.

Credit: Photos: Jim Strickland/Black Star

The plant's administration building is the only LEED-certified wastewater-related building in the nation. Inside are educational panels that explain the treatment process to visitors.

“Cary is basically leasing plant capacity until they have enough time to expand their own plant,” said McKim & Creed process engineer Kevin Eberle. “At about that same time, Durham County is going to need their capacity back to accommodate the growth within the county.”

The team's success in completing the project on time and under budget is attributed to a number of factors:

  • Thorough planning and simplicity. Steering clear of delays helped keep costs down.
  • Excellent communication. Having the same people involved in the project from the beginning made things easier. “It really helps in dealing with construction and political and financial issues that come up when you work on a project of this magnitude,” said Blake.
  • Constant supervision and assessment. McKim & Creed provided full-time, onsite resident construction observers. This improved communication among the engineering firm, the public works department, and the elected officials.
  • Public works officials were involved in all decisions regarding equipment selection. “We all took several trips to Florida and Atlanta looking at various pieces of equipment and talking to operators of treatment facilities about the pros and cons of their equipment,” said Eberle.

McKim & Creed continues to be involved in the project. Recently, the firm installed educational panels in the administration building explaining the wastewater treatment process simply and visually. The plant runs tours to educate visitors about the treatment plant and how it functions. An environmental science class from a nearby high school recently toured the facility. “I think they'll be returning every semester now,” said Whisler.

Because Durham County has contracted McKim & Creed to provide engineering services for the entire project, the AEC firm has drafted designs for the third phase. This phase involves constructing a biosolids handing facility, which will produce a pelletized fertilizer product that can be marketed to the community. Construction is expected to begin in early 2008.

McKim & Creed also is working with Durham County to create a reclaimed water program. The team plans on expanding the program into the community by providing non-potable water for irrigation systems and chiller equipment.

Triangle Wastewater Treatment Plant

Project completion date: April 2005

Total cost: $28.3 million

AEC firm: McKim & Creed

Location: Durham, N.C.

Neat stat: This is the only LEED-certified wastewater treatment administration building in the nation.