Innovative Ship Creek Water Treatment Facility Heat Exchanger Wins Green Merit Award

December 28, 2017

Left to Right: Thomas Hebnes – Frawner Corporation; Todd Carroll, PE – AWWU; Evan Griffith, PE – R&M.

Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utility’s (AWWU) newest water treatment facility heat exchange system won a 2017 Best Projects Merit Award in the Green Projects Category from the publication Engineering News Record (ENR) – ENR Northwest Region.

The Utility’s Ship Creek Water Treatment Facility Heat Exchanger project, a one-of-a kind system, created innovative energy and water savings conservation benefits. These benefits were recognized as meritorious environmental achievements by AWWU at ENR’s Best Projects Awards Event on December 14 in Seattle. The award was accepted by Todd Carroll, PE, AWWU Civil Engineer and Project Manager for the Ship Creek project.

“This was a very innovative and unusual project. I am proud to be a member of the team that designed and built this project after many years of planning and coordination,” said Carroll. “Water customers in Anchorage are going to see a real benefit from the savings in heating their water as the Utility captures waste heat from the power plant. I am also excited about the reduced emissions and the greater efficiencies realized by the close proximity of the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) water treatment facility and electrical power plant. It’s a great example of the Municipality working together to achieve more.”

This award is considered one of commercial construction’s most prestigious and coveted honors. Projects are selected by juries of prominent industry professionals. Categories awarded cover a variety of building and infrastructure categories, including Best Green Project and Best Highway Project.

A unique project of this scale has never been accomplished by any other municipal water system in the United States. AWWU serves the MOA with approximately 20 million gallons of water per day from Eklutna Lake through the Ship Creek Energy Recovery Station.

Ship Creek Water Treatment Facility Energy Recovery Station (ERS).

The new innovative heat transfer system at the Ship Creek facility is able to capture approximately 100 MBTU of waste heat from the electrical generation process that otherwise would be vented to the atmosphere.

The transfer of heat is accomplished with large, double walled, plate and frame NSF 61 certified heat exchangers, a first for the industry. This allows AWWU to capture more waste heat from Municipal Light & Power (ML&P) via Plant 2, co-located at the Ship Creek Campus, resulting in warmer water. Warmer water means less breaks due to less water freeze ups in waterlines, and less electric or gas heat required for residents and businesses to heat tap water for showers and commercial applications.

This process provides numerous benefits to AWWU, ML&P and their customers. Projections indicate it will save the MOA approximately $1.9 million per year, optimizing power plant efficiency. The majority of the savings will be realized with lower customer water heating costs due to warmer water being delivered to customer residences and buildings. It also reduces the amount of waste heat in the atmosphere, reducing air pollution.

Three new heat exchangers housed in ERS addition.

The project completed construction in June 2016 and cost approximately $7 million. The project team consisted of R&M Consultants, Inc. (R&M) as the project designer and Frawner Corporation as the general contractor.

Lead designer R&M provided surveying; geotechnical, site, civil, utility and structural engineering; public involvement; and environmental permitting services.

“Serving as the design Project Manager from 50 percent design completion all the way through construction completion was both challenging and exciting,” said Evan Griffith, PE, R&M’s Project Manager and Senior Civil Engineer. “Most of my career experience has been with heavy civil earthwork projects (roadway and aviation). This project gave me the opportunity to expand my skills into the water distribution/mechanical field, where I gained valuable experience with a project that will benefit all of AWWU’s customers by reducing system repair and water heating costs.”

As the contractor, Frawner was responsible for all day-to-day construction activities and coordination with AWWU, subcontractors and vendors, end-users and consultants. They self-performed the installation of all mechanical equipment and piping, underground piping and site civil improvements.

“This project required an immense amount of coordination and communication with everyone on our project team. The successful completion demonstrates the collaborative success of our entire team, and will benefit our community for years to come,” said Eric Kozlowski, Frawner’s Project Manager. “Frawner is extremely proud of the product we delivered for AWWU, as well as the residents of Anchorage. I want to extend a personal Thank You to all of the Frawner field employees – their hard work and expertise made this project a success.”

Founded in Alaska in 1969, R&M offers civil, structural, geotechnical and waterfront engineering; surveying and mapping; GIS services; geology; hydrology; environmental services; transportation and land use planning; public involvement; right of way and lands consulting services; construction administration; materials testing; and special inspection. R&M has offices in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

The MOA owns and operates AWWU for the core purpose of safeguarding the health and welfare of the public in our community and the environment in which we live. As a Utility, AWWU’s mission is to provide safe and reliable water and wastewater services today and into the future. Bringing water to homes and businesses and protecting water resources by appropriately disposing of wastewater is the focus every day for the nearly 300 professional employees that comprise the staff of the Utility. The dedication and enthusiasm for this work reflects the clear commitment of the staff and the community as a whole toward their core purpose.