Grand Award for Enhanced Nutrient Removal Upgrades at Back River

Dept. of Public Works press release header

Baltimore's Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) Project Upgrades at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant received the prestigious Grand Award from the Anerican Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). The award was presented to the Department of Public Works' contractor on the project, Whitman, Requardt and Associates, LLP, at the 2019 Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) held May 7 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington  D.C. The EEA is known as the "Academy Awards of the Engineering Industry".

This year marked the 50th anniversary of these awards, and also set a record for the most entrants - 196! Of these there were 16 Grand Award winners, including the ENR recognition.

One of the worlds's largest applications of denitrification technology has substantially lowered levels of nitrogen and phosphorous discharged into the Chesapeake Bay. The process involves integration of the 52 specially designed denitrification filter cells - among the world's largest - into the existing Back River Water Resource Recovery Plant. Results show the technology has reduced the nitrogen and phosphrous load discharged into the Bay by nearly 2 million pounds in the first year of operation. The restoration effort provides an integrated approach to improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

This work, coupled with the new ENR facility at the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Headworks Project under construction at Back River, and the massive Consent Decree wastewater infrastructure projects, will result in dramatic improvements to our streams, Harbor, and the Chesapeake over the next few years.


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Jeffrey Raymond
Kurt Kocher
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The Baltimore City Department of Public Works supports the health, environment, and economy of our City and region by cleaning our neighborhoods and waterways and providing its customers with safe drinking water and sustainable energy practices.