A Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) project in Belgrade, Montana received an American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) 2024 Engineering Excellence Award for Honors in the Waste and Storm Water Category from ACEC-Montana. The project was a crucial step for the City of Belgrade to continue growth and development in the Gallatin Valley. The area has seen an enormous influx of people for more than a decade. Since 2010, the population of Belgrade has increased more than 60% to over 12,000 people.

The newly constructed WRF has doubled the capacity of Belgrade’s previous wastewater treatment infrastructure, which was a three-cell lagoon system with a maximum capacity of 0.85 million gallons per day (MGD). The new facility is located near Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. Building from the ground up allowed the design team to tailor a custom facility for the City’s modern needs rather than rehabilitating the outdated system.

TD&H Engineering led the project with AE2S as a subconsultant. The team evaluated several activated sludge processes such as sequencing batch reactors, membrane bioreactors, the Modified Ludzach-Eddinger (MLE) process, and oxidation ditches. An oxidation ditch facility was determined to be the best alternative.

The new WRF includes solids screening, grit removal, secondary treatment, which employs an activated sludge process in an oxidation ditch, and secondary clarification. The facility successfully produces effluent quality with a total nitrogen concentration of less than 10 mg/L and increases Belgrade’s total treatment capacity to 1.74 MGD on average, annually.

“This proactive project was a significant effort by the City of Belgrade’s Engineers, Public Works staff, WRF Operators, and the Finance Director along with the consulting team of TD&H and AE2S,” says Brian Viall, AE2S Project Manager. “The AE2S team is very proud to be part of this award-winning project.”

The WRF is successfully treating the City’s municipal wastewater influent to a finished quality with less than 10 mg/L Total Nitrogen before it is discharged to groundwater or as reuse water in the form of irrigation for the Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport’s airfield and auxiliary grass runway.

The Belgrade WRF project now moves on to the national ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards competition. The winners of each category will be announced at the annual black-tie gala in Washington D.C. on May 15, 2024.