The City of Pueblo (Pueblo) is situated 112 miles south of Denver, Colorado, and located at the confluence of the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek. Pueblo owns and operates the James R. DiIorio Water Reclamation Facility (JR Dilorio WRF) with a permitted capacity of 19 million gallons per day producing reclaimed water and biosolids for beneficial use. As with many utilities across the U.S., Pueblo was facing new nutrient regulatory requirements and aging infrastructure that needed to be addressed to position Pueblo for the future. Traditional options for meeting new nutrient regulatory requirements include technologies that require significant equipment/facility additions and resources. Pueblo decided to take a different direction, and implemented a new nutrient-removal process intensification solution at JR Dilorio WRF that combines advanced aeration control and a hydrocylone-based wasting, known as BC:Ntensify™, to meet their future needs. Pueblo’s implementation of BC:Ntensify has resulted in the following significant outcomes:
- Minimized plant upgrade costs to $0.25 per gallon of treated effluent versus traditional treatment plant upgrades, which can cost $4 to $10 per gallon of treated effluent
- Increased process capacity by approximately 30% as measured by the improvement in the mixed liquor settling rates
- Reduce O&M costs by decreasing chemical use by almost 100% and decreasing aeration energy by 50% as seen through Pueblo’s need to only use one blower compared to the two used with the previous system
- Provided an extended schedule for low-level nutrient-limit compliance from accumulated credits for improved effluent quality
The facility is currently meeting nutrient limits, and Pueblo is now participating in the Colorado Water Quality Control Division’s Voluntary Incentive Program. This program allows Pueblo to accumulate credits to extend its compliance deadline to achieve low-level nutrient limits that are proposed for approval in 2027. The extended compliance deadline protects Pueblo from rate increases and gives Pueblo a chance to explore more cost-effective choices for nutrient removal at the facility. As wastewater treatment facilities continue to face more stringent nutrient limitations, solutions like BC:Ntensify, which can provide effluent that meets low levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, will continue to be a welcome tool for utilities and industries across the United States and around the world. Coupling nutrient treatment with energy and chemical savings and low capital costs will resonate even further throughout the water industry.