Industrial Utility Efficiency

Madison Utilities Wastewater Treatment Plant Blower Upgrade Saves Energy

Aside from expertise in wastewater treatment plant management, there’s a reason why the Madison Utilities wastewater treatment plant in Alabama has a long track record of maintaining compliance, while also keeping water treatment rates low: It’s willing to invest in strategies and technologies that keep it ahead of the operational curve. 

Madison Utilities’ willingness to invest in strategies and the latest technologies is a key factor in the success of its wastewater treatment plant in Madison, Alabama.

One need look no further than the treatment plant’s digester project upgrade to see the value of the plant’s forward-thinking approach at work. The upgrade involved the replacement of five Positive Displacement (PD) blowers with four, high-speed Inovair integrally geared blowers for aerating the digesters. With fewer – and smaller – blowers the plant saves tens of thousands of dollars in energy costs per year. The blowers also offer flexibility to cost-effectively adapt to the need for increased water treatment in the future. 

For Madison Utilities Wastewater Manager Mark Bland, the ability to do more with less is about adapting to change for the benefit of ratepayers.

“It really helps to have a team that’s willing to accept change,” Bland said. “That’s the hard part because you’re putting trust in the technology. But the better plant operators are the ones who are willing to change.”

By upgrading its aerobic digesters with high-speed, integrally geared blowers, Madison Utilities’ wastewater treatment plant saves tens of thousands of dollars per year in energy costs – and gains flexibility in meeting future water treatment needs. 


Rapid Growth Drives Upgrade Projects

Located in Madison, Alabama, and originally built in 2002, the Madison Utilities wastewater treatment plant is a Class B solids 8.25 Million Gallons per Day (MGD) activated sludge plant with an average daily flow of 6.5 MGD and a peak capacity of 24 MGD. The plant serves approximately 55,000 residents. 

Throughout the years the plant launched several upgrade projects in response to a rapidly growing population driven by a bustling economy supported by major companies in the information technology, aerospace, and automotive industries, among others. 

The main systems found at the plant today include the headworks operation with a vortex grit removal system, three primary carousel-type aeration basins and three secondary clarifiers for primary treatment; a Return Activated Sludge (RAS)/Waste Activated Sludge (WAS) pump station; six aerobic digesters for processing WAS;  and a dewatering facility with a centrifuge for drying the Class B solids for use as fertilizer. The plant also uses both peracetic acid and ultraviolet disinfection techniques as part of its wastewater treatment process. 

In 2018, Madison Utilities increased aerobic digester capacity at the plant by adding two digester tanks to four existing tanks to keep pace with increased wastewater treatment needs. The project also included the addition of the new blowers and fine-bubble diffusers to its aerobic digesters in place of coarse bubble diffusers, as well as Dissolved Oxygen (DO) probes and airflow meters for increased monitoring and measurement.

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