Integrated Project Delivery/In-Depth Project Session: Wastewater Treatment Plant
The Niagara Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) serves the 50,000 residents of Niagara Falls, New York. On July 29, 2017, during a permitted cleaning, a carbon-laden effluent was discharged to the Niagara River. The images of the dark plume went viral, and the WWTP was thrust into the spotlight. Weeks later, another discharge caused by a heavy rainfall brought the WWTP more negative press.
When constructed in the early 1970s, Niagara Falls was home to several heavy industrial facilities. At that time, carbon was the most effective media to treat industrial waste. Fast forward to 2018. Many of the industries have left, but carbon is still used to treat wastewater.
Upgrades to the facility were necessary. But like any aging facility, paper drawings were outdated, modifications were undocumented, and long-time operators had long since retired. Contractors working in the facility were hampered by the lack of reliable data, increasing both time and budget.
Mr. Rolfe Porter, Executive Director of the Niagara Falls Water Board, reached out to Barron & Associates, P.C., to document the WWTP. After consulting with WWTP operators and technicians, a plan for improvements to benefit both employees and contractors was developed.
Engineering grade data was collected using a Faro laser scanner. Priority was given to areas where upgrades might help eliminate problem discharges, followed by areas under construction. Post-construction as-builts were also scanned. Employees and contractors are now using the data for training and design.
A Matterport Pro2 3D camera was also used to document the WWTP. Over 900 scans were collected and divided into 4 smaller projects. This data is also available to employees and contractors.
Finally, mobile LiDAR was used on streets that are scheduled for work in 2019. Over 27,000 linear feet were mapped, with the data ready to be used for everything from design to pre-construction restoration.
The results of these actions have been favorable. Laser scans are made available to all contractors and must be used on all design projects. Progress and final drawings, as well as the 3D design model, are now part of the deliverable. This information is then incorporated into the online O&M manual for use by plant personnel.
A financial benefit to the 3D documentation has also been realized. The first project to use scan data came in 25% under budget. Pointclouds are made available to all contractors, and $9 million worth of work will be awarded in late 2018 with a real potential for a substantial cost benefit.
The mobile LiDAR data collected for the WWTP will also be used by the City Engineering Dept. Efficiency, accuracy, and employee safety are among the key reasons the City has embraced the technology.
Finally, the Matterport application has grown into a very powerful tool. Matterport photos are linked to the new online O&M manual as well as Lucity, the WWTP’s asset management program. Hyperlinks allow employees to migrate from one platform to the other. This can all be done from their desktops, mobile devices, or virtual reality goggles.