Colorado Public Works Journal, Winter 2019

Winter 2019 • 13 Modernizing The City of Northglenn’s waste water treatment facility was built in the early 1980s. The original plant was an aerated la- goon system with a polishing reservoir. With a relatively small population, this process worked great for many years. In the early 2000s, as the city’s population started to grow, and NPDES permit requirements became more stringent, requiring more effective treatment processes to be added to the original plant. By 2006, the city had constructed a basic ABNR plant to improve treatment, but it just wasn’t enough. In 2012, the city contracted with Providence Infrastructure Consultants to design a headworks facility that would allow for the decommissioning of the primary lagoons to reduce odors, a new secondary clarifier and a backup power system that would provide redundancy and continuous operations, even during power outages. These additions to the treatment process were critical to the city’s ability to continue to meet their NPDES permit require- ments as well as reducing the cost of treatment through more modern, cost effective and sustainable treatment processes. Being a Good Neighbor For most waste water utilities, odor is a common problem. And, it is becoming a more significant problem, as Colorado’s population grows, and waste water facilities are no longer tucked away from development. Northglenn’s treatment facil- ity is no different. When originally constructed, the facility was located north of the metro area, surrounded by farms and open space. Today, neighboring communities are building homes and commercial developments, almost at the facility’s fence line. Odor complaints coming from the new, neighboring housing developments became a substantial problem for the city, making it necessary to find a solution to managing odors at the plant. Eliminating the lagoon system and constructing a modern headworks facility was crucial to solving the odor problem at the facility. As an answer to this problem, Provi- dence designed a headworks structure that not only improved treatment processes, but included an air ionization system to treat the wastewater odors being released from the raw wastewater. The construction of the headworks was the first step in the process of decommissioning the primary lagoons. Smaller public works projects are often seen as being insignificant or having little impact on a community. However, small projects, or those underground, off the beaten path projects, that are out of the public eye, are often the ones that have the largest impact on a community. The City of Northglenn’s headworks and clarifier project is a great example of a project that looks small, but has substantial impacts to the community and the environment.