BenchMark 2009 No. 3: Feature Projects

The Power of Sunlight

Wineries in Napa Valley, Calif., are seeing the sun in a new light. With Burns & McDonnell as the lender’s engineer, Perpetual Energy Systems completed a series of photovoltaic (PV) solar panel installation projects. Q10 Churchill Financial coordinated the financing for solar power systems at several Foster’s Group wineries, including Asti, Beringer, Etude and Stags’ Leap. Each system was installed on the rooftops of the wineries and could meet as much as 90 percent of one winery’s energy needs. “These systems are well-designed and integrated projects,” says Brandon Banbury, Burns & McDonnell mechanical engineer. “They reduce CO2 emissions by about 4,350 tons every year — the equivalent of removing 725 cars from the road.” Burns & McDonnell reviewed similar PV solar systems at the Willits, Calif., wastewater treatment plant and Siemens Transportation Systems in Sacramento, Calif. The 420-kW system in Willits will meet 100 percent of the plant’s energy needs, and the 1.1-megawatt system at Siemens is expected to meet 50 percent of its energy needs. “These projects are good examples of utilizing otherwise unproductive space to generate clean, renewable energy.”

For more information, contact Brandon Banbury, 630-724-3382, or Jim Hays, 858-790-5507.

Preserving Wetlands Through Project Design

The city of Wichita, Kan., and two local developers needed each other's help. The city needed flood control in the area of Cadillac Lake, and the developers needed to mitigate disturbance to wetlands with their developments. With the help of Burns & McDonnell, which recommended a drainage improvement district, the collaborators were able to obtain section 404 permitting from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and satisfy both needs. Burns & McDonnell provided designs for the project, including a 47-acre emergent wetland and two drainage basins. A 13-acre basin on the east end and a 3.2-acre basin on the west end provided flood control and supplemental hydrology for the mitigation site. The soil excavated was used to elevate the new developments above flood levels and line the bottom of the basins, resulting in no soil loss. "We alleviated flooding and created new wetlands - all while reducing the footprint of these developments to decrease wetland impact," says Randy Root, senior wetland scientist in the Burns & McDonnell Environmental Studies & Permitting Group.

For more information, contact Randy Root, 816-822-3961.

Fired Up from Afar

The Jimah power plant wasn’t sited in the usual way — a site was literally designed for it. The 2x700-megawatt steam-electric plant was built on 300 acres of reclaimed land off the coast of Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, requiring extensive dredging of sand from the Straits of Malacca and soil improvements. Coal is brought in via ship to a 1-kilometer, offshore jetty. But despite the atypical base of operation, with Burns & McDonnell as the lender’s engineer, both plants meet industry standards with low-NOx burners, electrostatic precipitators and seawater flue gas desulfurization equipment. “Despite a short construction schedule — 48 months for Unit 1 and 54 months for Unit 2 — both of the project’s units passed performance tests and were ready to go online weeks ahead of schedule,” says Rod Stevens, Burns & McDonnell project manager. Burns & McDonnell worked with SLP Perunding Bhd., a Kuala Lumpur engineering firm.

For more information, contact Joe Moody, 816-822-3220.

Big City Planning for Small Town Needs

At an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet, the town of Fairplay, Colo., is one of the coldest in America. Consequently, new ammonia limits set by the state of Colorado were not being met by the town’s existing lagoon-type wastewater treatment plant, which relies on warmer temperatures to be effective. As a replacement, Burns & McDonnell recommended an integrated fixed-film activated sludge treatment facility, capable of biological nutrient removal, reducing the process time from 60 days to 12 hours. The trick was customizing the facility to essentially operate on autopilot while designing a system for the high altitude — winter protection for every piece of equipment that could also treat wastewater at 5 degrees Celsius. “The schedule could not accommodate any delays because the odds of severe weather were very high,” says Andrew Waddoups, Burns & McDonnell project manager. Burns & McDonnell delivered the facility six months ahead of schedule. It was operating by mid-November 2008 and treating to permit limits by mid-January 2009. “This district is very impressed with Burns & McDonnell and the design-build concept,” says Dave Stanford, Fairplay Sanitation District operator.

For more information, contact Andrew Waddoups, 303-721-9292.

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