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RWR seeks new design at Quigg treatment plant

CONYERS -- Rockdale Water Resources is seeking to retool the Quigg Branch Waste Water Treatment Plant to implement a unique and new treatment process that promises to save on operational costs while expanding treatment capacity.

The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners approved a contract with Khudenko Engineering, pending county attorney review, for $339,250. The firm would provide an engineering study and designs to install a CATABOL process for treating wastewater.

If implemented, Quigg would become just the second public wastewater facility in the country to use the CATABOL process, which was developed by Boris Khudenko. The other facility is in Cartersville and has been in operation since 2007 and serves 19,000 people. The CATABOL process is credited for expanding the Cartersville plant capacity by 1 million gallons per day to 15 MGD.

Expansion was what RWR Director Dwight Wicks said attracted him to opening discussions with Khudenko. The Quigg plant is permitted to treat 6 MGD but has operated under capacity at about 4 MGD for several years.

The problem has been more highly concentrated wastewater caused by drought conditions and water conservation measures. The wastewater now produces higher amounts of solid waste, or sludge, that has to be treated and disposed.

The CATABOL process is different in that it is a strongly anaerobic, or limited oxygen, system that produces fewer solids and lower energy requirements. Quigg uses a traditional aerobic, or oxygen rich, treatment system.

Wicks said the positives to this system are that it was already in use, has approval by state environmental regulators and is designed to use both traditional aerobic and CATABOL's anaerobic treatment processes.

Another positive is the promise of reducing odors produced at the treatment plant now because of the limited use of oxygen in the CATABOL process, Wicks explained.

Design work is expected to take six months with the retrofitting to take about a year.

The complete modification of Quigg to the new treatment process is expected to cost $4.2 million. Wicks said RWR has $3.9 million in its construction fund to cover most of the cost and would transfer the balance from RWR's reserve fund.

Wicks presented past proposals and cost estimates the county commissioned in attempts to increase capacity at Quigg. JJ&G provided an estimate of $15 million in 2004, followed by a Brown & Caldwell design estimated to cost $12.5 million.

Pendergrass and Associates was brought in to clarify efforts and presented a revised estimate of $9.4 million.