In 2008, Peoria, Ariz., completed its newest water reclamation facility, which treats and recycles wastewater for use in both groundwater recharge and direct reuse. A fast-growing city in a desert environment, Peoria built the facility to ensure a safe, reliable and steady water supply for residents and businesses.

After studying options for reusing current and future wastewater flows in the southern area of the city, Peoria's contractor, Kansas City, Mo.-based Black & Veatch, designed a facility in 2003 that would treat wastewater using membrane bioreactor technology (MBR), which has a smaller footprint than conventional, activated sludge technology.

In the design phase, construction managers at Tucson, Ariz.-based Sundt Construction used three-dimensional modeling tools from San Rafael, Calif.-based Autodesk to model the plant's architectural and structural elements, and underground components. Called building information modeling (BIM), the integrated process allowed planners to explore the facility's physical and functional characteristics digitally before it was built. "Stakeholders were able to more clearly visualize our facility, enabling a more powerful and effective way to communicate," says Shawn Kreuzwiesner, utilities engineering manager for Peoria.

Construction on the 133,000-square-foot Butler Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) began in 2006, and the facility began operating in July 2008. The 10-million-gallon-per-day (mgd) facility is expandable to 13 mgd. Besides MBR filtration, the plant features fine screens, nitrogen control and UV disinfection. Solids are de-watered with centrifuges, and a conveyor system carries the solids to truck containers that haul the waste to a landfill. The de-watering process layout allows for a future addition of high-level solids treatment to achieve Class A biosolids suitable for re-use.

Currently the nation's largest operational MBR water reclamation facility, Butler WRF is mostly below ground, and the plant air is scrubbed and deodorized before being released into the atmosphere. On the adjacent property, Peoria has started designing a public park, which will be irrigated with re-claimed water from the facility.

The American Public Works Association named the facility a 2009 Public Works Project of the Year in the environmental category, and the WateReuse Association gave the facility its top project award in the large project category.

Project: Butler Water Reclamation Facility
Jurisdiction: Peoria, Ariz.
Agency: Utilities Department
Vendors: Tucson, Ariz.-based Sundt Construction; San Rafael, Calif.-based Autodesk; Kansas City, Mo.-based Black & Veatch
Date completed: July 2008
Cost: $135 million