Bassett Engineering (BE) served as a sub-consultant for Energy Systems Group (ESG) through the design and construction of the Altoona Water Authority’s Altoona Westerly Treatment Plant Biosolids Improvement project. The project included the installation of two new anaerobic digesters which produce biogas that is beneficially reused as a means of fuel for new biosolids volume reduction dryers and new/existing heating boilers. This will help to reduce Westerly’s reliance on energy produced by fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources as well as increase the quality of the biosolids being land-applied on farm fields and other agricultural practices. For the project, BE was tasked with obtaining all DEP Permits: AQM, WQM, GP-5, Ch 102, and modeling the waste-stream impacts of the digester installation to ensure no negative impacts were being introduced.
BE also played a big role by securing the 36.6 million dollar PennVest loan for the Authority. This loan funded the initial capital construction costs of the Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement (GESA) entered into with ESG. The project aimed to generate revenue by the acceptance of local high-strength waste, biogas generation/utilization, and increased biosolids quality due to volume reduction and drying, all of which will offset costs throughout the life of the loan and well beyond.
Construction of the project started prior to closing on the loan with PennVest approval and progressed rapidly. Upon receiving notice to proceed from the Altoona Water Authority, ESG mobilized on-site and started construction in September 2020.
The existing old abandoned in-place concrete process tanks were demolished and backfilled. By late November 2020, both foundations for the one-million-gallon anaerobic digesters were completed. Digester tank panels were erected in late January 2021 along with the completion of the Digester control building foundation rebar work.
In January 2022, covers had been constructed on the digesters and the project was moved into the next phase of co-digestion and sludge drying, which were completed in the Spring of 2022.