Low Flow Groundwater Sampling – The Industry Standard

November 22, 2022

The methods and objectives of groundwater sampling to assess water quality has evolved. Why do we sample groundwater? Typically to access environmental impacts to soil and groundwater from chemicals of concern (COCs) or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

This can be a challenging task for geologists and engineers and one that is not always easily accomplished. Since the mid-1990s, low-flow sampling has become an increasingly popular method for obtaining high-quality groundwater samples and has become the established method for providing the most accurate groundwater sampling data for assessment purposes.

Traditional Groundwater Sampling   

Before low-flow sampling technologies were implemented, the most common groundwater and sampling methodology were to purge a well using bailers or high-speed pumps. This method involved removing three to five casing volumes and following up with a sample collection. This more traditional method can have adverse impacts on sample quality and has the potential to produce an overestimation of certain metals or organic compounds. Through the work of Robert W. Puls and Michael J. Barcelona, in 1996 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) released standard operating procedures for low-flow sampling. Following such guidelines ensures the collection of samples that are representative of water conditions.

Low Flow Purging and Sampling Procedures

Low-flow purging and sampling involve extracting groundwater at rates typically less than 500 ml/min so that the drawdown of the water level is minimized. This method reduces the mixing of stagnant groundwater with groundwater from the screened intake area which ensures the sample is more representative of the aquifer conditions.

The sampling process involves collecting the depth of groundwater in each monitoring well so groundwater elevation can be established for that specific location. This sampling process plays a key role in ensuring that the evacuation rate from the monitoring well is properly adjusted and maintained during the purging and sampling process. Before the sample is collected, the stabilization of water quality parameters such as pH, DO, conductivity, temperature, oxidation-reduction potential and turbidity of the purged water is monitored. By allowing the aquifer to equilibrate before sampling, low-flow methods produce samples that are representative of the formation water.

At McFadden Engineering, we implement the most effective and accurate environmental testing and solutions to water and wastewater problems, which is why we utilize low-flow purging methods on a variety of projects. To learn more about our work with low-flow purging, visit the links below or give us a call at 251-470-6870 or send us an email.

Rain Drop Car Wash Installs McFadden Engineering’s OxyShark® Water Reclamation System

October 27, 2022

OxyShark® Water Reclamation (OWR) is a wastewater treatment system used to treat domestic, commercial and industrial wastewater. OxyShark utilizes a high-rate biological process specially designed to produce reusable, nearly potable clean water.

Founded by a team of experienced water engineering professionals with a background in wastewater process design, OxyShark is a leader in the wastewater treatment world, distinguished by its speed and efficiency in completing the treatment process up to 10x faster and with a smaller footprint than traditional systems.

Car Wash Training Facility in Clay, AL

A customer came to the OxyShark team with a proposed car wash and car wash training facility in Clay, AL. The main challenge of this location was the lack of sewer connections in which to discharge wastewater. The expected capacity was 7,500 gallons per day (GPD) of car wash water generated at the site. Following a thorough design process, a two-unit system was designed and installed featuring Zeolite filtration and a 10,000-gallon equalization (EQ) tank. The large EQ tank was necessary to handle any temporary surges since there was no available sewer discharge connection. The customer’s goal was 100% water reuse less the approximate 17% losses due to evaporation and drive-off.

OxyShark also allows for a small city water usage at the car washes’ reverse osmosis filter for a spot-free rinse and an automatic city water make-up valve installed on the reclaim tank to replace water lost to drive off and evaporation.

From day one, the system exceeded expectations, as the customer is averaging 10,000 GPD due to a higher-than-expected traffic count. The system was able to increase the average flow through the OxyShark system beyond the design point to meet the increased demand. The customer reports clean water with no odor, good wash quality and efficient use of chemicals. Every three to four months, the McFadden team will purge the system with a small volume of city water. This helps reduce the build-up of dissolved solids in the reclaim water. Other than this quarterly purge and the small amount of spot-free rinse water, the system is 100% reclaim. The OxyShark microprocessor based 100% reclaim wash water system proved to be the best solution for this challenging car wash project.

In addition to this unique car wash application, OxyShark has proven to be an efficient treatment technology in many other commercial and industrial applications. If you are interested in learning more about potential applications for OxyShark treatment technology and the capabilities of our system, contact us at 251-470-6870 or visit our website. We look forward to working with you on any future potential projects.

Disinfection Options in the Wastewater Engineering Process

September 21, 2022

Chlorine, Ultraviolet and Ozone  

McFadden Engineering is known across the Southeast for providing environmentally sound wastewater treatment solutions. Over the last 30 years, a large majority of our projects have included solving wastewater related issues for our clients. Wastewater engineering, also known as sanitary engineering, is the use of treatment processes (biological, mechanical, or chemical) to treat water so that a high-quality water can be achieved and maintained in the effluent. It is a vital component in the protection of public health and the environment.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), disinfection is the primary mechanism for the destruction of pathogenic organisms. The disinfection process prevents the spread of waterborne diseases to downstream users and the environment. Wastewater disinfection is a vital area within the treatment process because it assists in the prevention of diseases like salmonella, cholera and gastroenteritis. This article takes a deeper dive into various disinfection options with beneficial qualities including chlorine, ultraviolet and ozone.

How is Chlorine Used in the Disinfection Process?

Chlorine (Cl) is the most widespread disinfectant used for municipal wastewater because it destroys target organisms and has a long history of being an effective disinfectant. Chlorination is a commonly used chemical and has a flexible dosing control. There are multiple advantages to using chlorine as a disinfectant including;

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Success in eliminating a wide spectrum of pathogenic organisms
  • Being useful in oxidizing certain organic and inorganic compounds
  • Success in eliminating certain noxious odors during the disinfection process that can cause physical discomfort to residents in adjacent areas

However, care must be taken when using chlorine. Some disadvantages to be mindful of include:

  • Toxic gas and extreme corrosion
  • Can produce Disinfection By-Products (DBPs) that can cause harm to humans and others living organisms
  • Must be handled safely in proper doses

How is Ultraviolet Light Used in the Disinfection Process?

The EPA defines Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection as the transfer of electromagnetic energy from a mercury arc lamp to an organism’s genetic material. Disinfection happens when UV radiation penetrates the cell wall of an organism and destroys the cells’ ability to reproduce.

The benefits of disinfecting with UV radiation include:

  • Highly effective in destroying most viruses, spores and cysts without using chemicals.
  • No residual effect that can harm human or aquatic life and is a user-friendly operation
  • UV radiation is also valuable because it is a physical process that eliminates the need to generate and transport hazardous or corrosive chemicals

Despite being highly effective, there are drawbacks when using UV for disinfection including: 

  • UV does not leave a residual in the effluent which can allow some of the pathogens to slip through the process in the effluent
  • The use of light to decontaminate may render high concentrations of Total Suspended Solids (TSS)
  • Pre-treatment efforts need to be vetted prior to the disinfection stage if TSS levels are anticipated to be higher than normal
  • Photoreactivation has to be monitored to ensure no micro-organisms are able to repair themselves following the UV light Treatment

How is Ozone used in the Disinfection Process?

For ozone disinfection to occur, ozone (O3) must be produced. The EPA states that ozone is produced when oxygen molecules separate into oxygen atoms. The oxygen atoms collide with an oxygen molecule and form an unstable gas, ozone. Disinfection takes place when ozone decomposes in water and destroys bacteria with the help of hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl.

Ozone treatment is a more effective option for disinfection than chlorine or UV, however, the capital costs are far greater than other disinfection options making it the least used disinfection method in the United States. Despite the cost disadvantage, there are other advantages to using ozone for disinfection including:

  • Generated onsite resulting in fewer problems associated with shipping and handling
  • No harmful residuals that need to be removed
  • No regrowth of microorganisms, except for the ones protected in the wastewater stream

Similar to the other two options there are cons associated with ozone that include:

  • Highly reactive
  • Corrosive resistant materials must be used in the application  
  • Works best in applications where the effluent has been highly treated so that the residual pathogens are attacked and eliminated

Our team at McFadden Engineering has a combined 120 years of experience in solving water and wastewater problems. To learn more about our wastewater treatment projects visit our website or give us a call at 251-470-6870. We are eager to partner with you on your next project.

Top 3 Most Valuable Leadership Qualities for Engineers

August 19, 2022

Why Strong Leadership Is Beneficial in Engineering Services

Strong leadership and leadership development have become increasingly urgent for organizations across multiple fields. To survive and thrive in the constantly changing, complex, and often uncertain environment and economic climate, companies depend on strong leadership from within their organization to push through challenging circumstances and meet the needs of their clients.

In the field of engineering, leadership skills are extremely valuable. Instilling these qualities can impact the current and future successes of the employees and organization. While engineers across multiple disciplines are known to be strong competitors in math and science, there are additional skills that are beneficial to becoming a strong engineering leader. We’ve outlined the top 3 most valuable leadership qualities for professionals in the engineering field and why these skills are essential to continued growth and success and are pursued daily by the McFadden Engineering team.  

#1 Collaboration

Engineering is an intricate field with projects that often require more than one person to complete the job. For a leader in the engineering profession, it is essential to know how to manage a team or department and promote a positive atmosphere for collaboration. The goal is to have a team that can work together and get the job done. Collaboration between leaders and employees is crucial to the overall success of projects and the organization.

Our team at McFadden values client participation. Our client/ consultant relationship builds a partnership that ensures a specific and complete solution that is designed to meet the distinct needs of a client or project. We do this by viewing our clients as a partner and by making connections. We are always eager to interact with new clients and assist them in achieving their goals.

#2 Communication

Being able to effectively communicate goals and strategies with their team allows leaders to create a positive workspace for everyone. Strong communication skills are also beneficial to engineering leaders because it enables leaders to share highlights and successes with other members of the organization.

At McFadden, our team of professional engineers and professional geologists have a wide array of knowledge in the field. We ensure strong communication is upheld by maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with clients and ensuring that they remain informed throughout each phase of the project. When working with clients, it’s imperative that leaders can communicate effectively and explain why certain strategies and solutions are being implemented throughout the project.

#3 Problem Solving Skills

Engineering is a discipline based on problem-solving and solutions. For leaders in engineering, utilizing problem-solving skills to tackle challenges from varying angles is vital for success. There are typically multiple perspectives to access a problem, but it is the job of the leader to investigate which solution is the most effective and for his or her team to succeed.

With a combined 120 years of experience, our team utilizes problem-solving skills to anticipate potential challenges and provide innovative solutions for our clients. Our goal is to work with our clients to provide environmentally sound solutions.

Strong leadership skills in engineering yield positive results for employees, organizations, and most importantly, clients. McFadden places a high value on instilling leadership qualities into our organization. Our leaders and team members consistently use collaboration, communication, and problem-solving skills to generate the best outcomes for clients. These leadership skills allow our team to succeed by helping our clients succeed.

Let us partner with you on your next project by contacting us at (251) 470-6870 or visiting the contact page of our website.

McFadden Civil Engineering Services: Detention and Retention Design

August 5, 2022

Determining the difference between detention and retention designs can be tricky. Both detention and retention systems involve methods of controlling flooding and erosion by managing quantities of water. Despite the similarities, the two are very different. In this blog, we discuss our experience with civil engineering services and provide the key differences between detention and retention designs.

Civil Engineering Services at McFadden

Our team at McFadden has a combined 120 years of civil and environmental engineering experience and has been delivering services to commercial and industrial clients in the Southeast for more than 30 years. We provide a broad range of services including master planning, site development, stormwater management and GIS development services. Our goals are to help our clients achieve regulatory compliance, reduce costs, solve complex problems and shrink the environmental footprint for each project we take on.

With a multi-disciplinary approach, we offer services such as development master planning, grading and drainage plan development, stormwater management and detention and retention design. Both detention and retention design are commonly used throughout civil engineering and water management and are even used together on projects like stormwater ponds. It is important to know what detention and retention are to properly determine the service needed. 

Detention vs. Retention

Detention

Also referred to as dry ponds, detention ponds mainly offer flood control by controlling the rate of water flow. This is accomplished through a control device typically placed at the entrance to the outlet pipe that maintains the pre-development rate of flow. In both detention and retention design, determining volume of the pond is a key component. Volume refers to the amount of space needed considering the amount of water that the pond will need to hold. To calculate the volume, engineers like our team at McFadden, will compare the pre-development to post-development runoff volumes. The intended goal of a detention pond is to drain water within a certain amount of time to make volume (space) available for the next storm event.

Systems designed with an underdrain or outlet that slowly releases the water downstream are most likely detention systems.

Retention

In contrast to dry detention ponds, retention ponds are referred to as wet ponds. This is because a retention pond permanently holds the water. In some cases, the bottom of the retention pond is placed below the elevation (height) of the groundwater table to create a permanent pool of water.

The amount of water in this pond rises and drops through an outlet source depending on the runoff coming from contributing areas. Both detention and retention ponds are sized based on rainfall runoff and a desired release volume. For a retention pond in particular, the volume of the pond is determined by settling times for target pollutants and evaporation rates for the specific area. In addition, retention ponds allow the vegetation and microbes present to gradually consume nutrients and other pollutants.

Typically, retention ponds are designed to allow time for the sediment to settle to the bottom of the pond prior to the water exiting.

Our team of talented engineers has worked on a variety of projects involving detention and retention design. For example, in 2015 we designed and constructed a new detention pond to capture stormwater runoff from the parking area of Bay City Free Will Baptist Church (BCFWBC) located in Semmes, AL. More recently, McFadden Engineering was retained by Threaded Fasteners (TFI) to provide planning and engineering services for the expansion of its current operation by developing a portion of the 10-acre parcel for the construction of an additional facility for a galvanizing operation. Our team assisted TFI with site design and layout, grading and drainage design, and design of a detention facility that would allow for additional facility expansion.  Our work helped ease the growing concerns of church staff and provided the upgrades needed to meet Mobile County, specifications. To learn more about our work with detention and retention designs, complete our contact form or contact us as 251-470-6870.  

Related Stories:

Civil Engineering and General Services

Bay City Free Will Baptist Church Parking and Drainage Upgrade

Interested in learning about other services?  

At McFadden, we use a holistic approach to provide a variety of engineering services that aim to meet the unique needs of our clients.

Learn More

Wastewater Permitting Options in the State of Alabama

June 21, 2022

The major aim of wastewater treatment operations is to create safe water by extracting pollutants, removing contaminants and killing pathogens so that water reaches a permissible level of cleanliness to be discharged into nearby bodies of water and ecosystems. In addition to creating safe, reusable water, wastewater treatment facilities must follow regulations set at local, state and federal levels. The environmental permitting process can be tricky to navigate, as standards are always evolving. It can be hard for businesses to keep up.

In this blog, we discuss all the environmental permitting options for wastewater treatment facilities in the state of Alabama and how McFadden can help bridge the gap between your business and regulatory principles.

Water Reclamation in Alabama

The state of Alabama has two classes of reuse water: Class A and Class B. Water reuse can be defined as planned or unplanned and can provide alternatives to existing water supplies.  In addition, water reuse applications can be used to ensure water security, sustainability, and quality. These two classes are defined as follows:

  • Class A Reuse Water—Secondary treated wastewater that has, at minimum, received additional treatment and disinfection.
  • Class B Reuse Water—Secondary treated wastewater that has, at minimum, been disinfected.

Class A and Class B water can be reused in numerous applications including the following:

  • Fodder
  • Fiber crops
  • Ornamental nursery stock
  • Sod and seed crops not intended for human consumption
  • Pasture for animals not producing milk for human consumption
  • Irrigation for golf courses
  • Highway medians and roadside vegetation
  • Cemeteries
  • Other applications with ADEM approval

Options for Permitting Treated Wastewater Discharge in Alabama

According to federal guidelines, states can maintain primary regulatory authority by following these specific permitting ordinances:

  • General NPDES
  • Individual NPDES
  • Underground Injection Control (UIC)
  • State Indirect Discharge (SID) to POTW
  • Onsite from ADPH

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit

The regulations and laws surrounding Alabama’s NPDES permit are in place to regulate point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States. There are two NPDES permits that wastewater companies can acquire. These include:

General

  • Permit based on activities at facility
  • Permit limits are already published and established by regulators (i.e. non-negotiable)
  • Enrollment through notice of intent process

Individual

  • EPA Forms are required presenting expected effluent quality and treatment system
  • Permit limits based on waste load allocation (WLA) for receiving stream
  • Limits can be negotiated based on WLA results

Underground Injection Control (UIC) Permit

Any wastewater treatment facility that plans to inject fluid into the subsurface via an injection well must receive a UIC permit. A few keys to this  permit are as follows:

  • Requirement of land area with critical soils evaluation
  • Permit limits are usually less stringent than a NPDES permit
  • Subsurface Discharge
    –Traditional disposal methods
    –Injection wells

One aspect of this permit that should be noted is that the point of compliance for the permit is in the groundwater.  Monitoring of groundwater for key parameters based on the characteristics of the waste stream will be required adjacent to the injection area.  Also, plans should be made during the design process to limit public access to the application area.

State Indirect Discharge (SID) Permit

In the state of Alabama, a company is required to obtain an SID permit if they meet one or more of the definitions for an industrial discharger:

  • Subject to categorical pretreatment standards
  • Industrial discharges over 25,000 GPD
  • Discharge makes up 5% or more of the flow to a POTW
  • Any discharge that could potentially have an adverse impact on the POTW

Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) Permit

In the state of Alabama, the ADPH permit is required for onsite sewage disposal systems that fall into one of the following categories:

  • Residential use
  • Small flow commercial (<1,500 GPD)

These systems have very strict sizing guidelines set forth in the ADPH onsite disposal regulations.  However, there is typically no monitoring of effluent or groundwater required for these systems.

Permit Evaluation

Before you start your next project, it’s imperative that you understand the regulatory process, treatment requirements and evaluate your ROI for treatment and disposal options. In addition, you must review typical monitoring requirements and permit terms to ensure your wastewater treatment facility operator:

  • Reads and understands your permit requirements and keeps it accessible
  • Expects regulatory visits
  • Maintains documents and keeps good records

Taking time to perform basic housekeeping in your wastewater plant can save time and efficiency in the long run.

McFadden Engineering has established relationships with local, state and federal regulatory agencies and can help navigate the environmental permitting process on our clients’ behalf. Based in Alabama with licenses to operate in Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, McFadden Engineering can serve as the liaison between your business and wastewater the environmental regulators. Get in touch today to find out how McFadden Engineering can help solve your wastewater treatment facility’s permitting needs.


Process Optimization for Wastewater Treatment Facilities

May 25, 2022

Wastewater treatment plants include numerous individual treatment processes within the overall treatment train. Each of these individual processes have optimum operating conditions that allow them to efficiently handle the specific parameters which the process is designed to treat. The misalignment of one of these parameters can result in a treatment process that is costly and difficult to maintain. In a worst-case scenario, your wastewater process can fail completely––leading to environmental compliance issues and poor effluent water quality.

By optimizing your treatment system and the individual processes, users can achieve consistent regulatory compliance, save operators valuable time and reduce overall operational costs at the facility.

The First Stage of Process Optimization: Parameter Evaluation

The first part of wastewater treatment process optimization includes a thorough evaluation of the process parameters that affect your wastewater treatment process. These parameters include:

  • Permitted discharge limits
  • Influent and effluent water quality
  • Source water make-up
  • Chemicals used in the wastewater treatment process
  • Chemical and physical water characteristics
  • Upstream and downstream processes
  • Wastewater generating activities

During this evaluation, our team of engineers and wastewater operators will assess lab data to detect how the plant is processing wastewater. In addition, necessary testing and analysis (such as jar testing, biodegradability, etc.) can be conducted to evaluate the performance of the individual processes in the wastewater treatment facility. This can help our operators determine if plant operators are taking the appropriate steps to improve the plant’s overall performance and output.

After we complete a thorough evaluation of your current process parameters, we can conduct an equipment analysis and test other components of your plant’s process.

The Second Stage of Process Optimization: Equipment Operation Analysis

A typical approach to equipment review involves three main objectives: conducting an equipment audit, identifying equipment issues, and developing a plan to address the identified equipment faults. When equipment is evaluated by our professionals, we most often look at the yearly maintenance schedule to determine if the equipment is operating at its optimum level.  An equipment audit review is an integral part of any organization’s wastewater treatment plan. Our equipment review findings can give us a glimpse into your plant’s wastewater treatment facility process and identify ways we can implement, upgrade or benchmark your plant’s process optimization. Based upon our findings, McFadden Engineering can develop a plan for operational adjustments, equipment upgrades and new chemicals for the treatment process.

The Final Stage of Process Optimization: Assess Operation

Performance assessment is an integral tool for wastewater treatment plants to operate on a cost-effective and sustainable basis. After the necessary wastewater treatment facility parameters have been evaluated and an action plan has been developed and implemented to address the outstanding equipment needs, our team will assess the wastewater plant operation. This includes a thorough review of monthly reporting to regulatory agencies and daily lab data, if available. In addition, maintenance logs and equipment history are usually very helpful in evaluating issues. Our team will also develop a list of priorities to determine which plant objectives to tackle first. In some instances, recommendations could include additional site training for the facility’s operator and staff.

Throughout this process, it’s imperative that our operators maintain a pulse on your plant’s progress to ensure an efficient and smooth-running system operation.

Enhance Your Wastewater Treatment Plant’s Efficiency with On-Site Engineering Consultants

All wastewater treatment facilities strive to reach their maximum outputs, while maintaining a smooth-running operation. Despite your plant’s best efforts to maintain a well-oiled operation, sometimes optimization is needed to achieve maximum efficiency. Optimization can take many different forms – this could mean anything from hiring additional wastewater operators to incorporating additional treatment processes to meet the overall needs of the facility. Our team at McFadden has a collective 100 years of working in wastewater management. We’re here to serve as allies for your wastewater plant––to help your plant achieve efficiency and run better than before.

For more information about McFadden Engineering’s Facility Management and Operations services, contact us.

Wastewater Operations and Facility Management

April 26, 2022

Many wastewater treatment facilities operate with an in-house facility management staff that is responsible for wastewater treatment operations. McFadden Engineering can ease the burdens many clients face when tasked to maintain general facility and wastewater treatment operations for their organizations. Our experienced Grade 4 wastewater operator and engineering staff offer training, maintenance and full-facility management to customers with small to medium flow wastewater systems, including schools, college campuses and small municipalities.

Our team always follows stringent environmental regulations and permit requirements to ensure the most sustainable approach to wastewater treatment.

Operations Options

Full Facility Management

For customers interested in complete facility management, this is a multi-step process that involves a thorough system evaluation, determining a need for equipment upgrades (if necessary), maintaining and optimizing existing facilities, streamlining process (i.e. process modifications, equipment maintenance procedures, etc.) and integration of new technologies as needed. We can help with the entire process or just individual phases or portions.

Achieving Plant Efficiency

McFadden determines the desired efficiency goals for all of our customers. Efficiency is mandatory for any organization, but especially wastewater treatment. Running a safe, efficient operation requires data evaluation which is done through process sampling. We look at the influent and compare to the effluent of the plant. We also compare to any discharge limitations the facility may have. To better understand the results we receive, we evaluate data “within the process”. This can help operators understand if adjustments need to be made or if additional treatment might be required to achieve the desired goals of the facility.

From an operational, geographic standpoint, McFadden Engineering designs, builds and evaluates processes for wastewater treatment plants in the Southeast. Due to the urgent nature and timeliness required for wastewater treatment plants operations, McFadden Engineering limits our operations to within a couple hours drive from Mobile, Alabama.

McFadden Facility Management and Operations

Whether your wastewater operation focuses on small to medium flow wastewater systems, schools, college campuses or small municipalities, McFadden Engineering can provide site assessment, maintenance for existing wastewater treatment operations, detailed assessments of overall plant efficiency and assist with process, controls and mechanical issues. If you’re looking for an engineering partner to handle the bulk of your plant management, provide general assessment and maintenance or assist in existing treatment operations, consider working with McFadden Engineering. Contact us for more information.

McFadden: Trusted Design Build Partner

March 25, 2022

McFadden Engineering’s roots run deep in the state of Alabama, as the premier civil and environmental engineering firm in Mobile. In our latest site development projects, McFadden Engineering’s engineers worked alongside construction professionals to develop the scope, program and design of a few facility projects, of various sizes. From facility expansion and parking lot upgrades and drainage to site design services and irrigation system designs. Our engineers facilitated the permitting process and evaluation of each part of the project––from conception to occupancy. Read more to learn about our recent design build projects.

Facility Expansion Project: Threaded Fasteners, Inc.

Semmes, Ala.

McFadden Engineering helped Threaded Fasteners, Inc. (TFI) with their facility expansion project. TFI acquired a 4.50-acre parcel to the east of its existing manufacturing facility. To allow for further expansion of the manufacturing facility and the addition of a galvanizing facility, McFadden assisted TFI with site design and layout, grading, drainage design and the design of a detention facility that would allow for future expansion.

This project consisted of major site work to compensate for a 15-foot elevation drop between the existing facility and new property. In addition, a drainage plan was implemented, which included filling the existing detention pond area at its current location and expanding TFI’s current material laydown yard area. McFadden Engineering also assisted the site contractor with implementation of erosion control measures and ADEM permit compliance. 

Read More About This Project Here

Parking and Drainage Upgrade: Bay City Free Will Baptist Church

Semmes, Ala. 

Bay City Free Will Baptist (Bay City), a growing church in Semmes, Alabama, needed a parking lot upgrade, along with a newly developed drainage system. McFadden Engineering helped develop a commercial site plan design that provided Bay City with 70 new parking spaces and a detention pond to capture stormwater runoff from the parking lot. In addition, culvert pipes for the two existing access driveways to the church were upgraded to meet Mobile County specifications. 

Read More About This Project Here

Civil Engineering Maintenance: Mobile Memorial Gardens

Mobile, Ala.

Since 1990, McFadden Engineering has been the consulting engineer for Mobile Memorial Gardens. For the last three decades, McFadden has performed numerous projects for the gardens such as civil site design services, design of irrigation systems, design of stormwater control structures, development of a GIS mapping system for the Gardens infrastructure, and design of wastewater disposal systems.  More recently McFadden used GIS services to develop a boundary and plot layout for the proposed Veterans Garden, provided engineering services for a sewage pump design and construction at the facility and provided engineering and permitting services for expansion of the maintenance building at the facility. 

Read More About Our History with Mobile Memorial Gardens Here

Ready to Work Together on Your Next Project?

Our projects––whether large or small––are all handled with the same priority and consistency. Our team works closely with regulatory agencies to bridge the gap between permitting and compliance issues, so that each step of the project flows smoothly––from start to finish.

We understand that project development entails a lot of moving parts, including new information, regulations, compliance, scheduling errors and more. If you don’t have a full grasp of the design build process, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. 

For more information about our design build process, or to work with McFadden Engineering on your next project, contact us!

Building & Maintaining a Pump & Treat Groundwater Remediation System Using Ozone Treatment Technology

February 16, 2022

Groundwater pump-and-treat remediation systems are a valuable, proven technology, especially on the Gulf Coast where we have abundant rainfall, high groundwater, and relatively high groundwater storativity and transmissibility. On the correct site, and with the proper chemicals of concern, they can cost-effectively remove and destroy many groundwater contaminants. Pump-and-treat systems are scalable and can be sized to treat large or small contaminant plumes. Additionally, properly designed systems allow relatively easy equipment upgrades, increasing or decreasing the size of a pump-and-treat system to make the system more flexible, economical to run, or to increase or decrease the size of the area treated.

Pump-and-treat systems that use ozone to treat contaminants are particularly attractive, as ozone readily destroys nearly all contaminants that can easily be oxidized. Ozone can be manufactured on-site in a cost-effective manner and does not require storage to be implemented.

Ozone treatment systems do, however, require specialized design parameters and maintenance. These design and maintenance parameters are not difficult or expensive, but they cannot be ignored. Addressing these items during the design process, along with providing proper system maintenance, increases effectiveness, decreases costs, and keeps system downtime to a minimum, while maximizing treatment efficiencies. Many things need to be assessed to make a pump-and-treat system as cost-effective and efficient as possible. Some of the more important areas to consider are as follows:

Site Suitability

While pump-and-treat systems work well at many sites particularly along the Gulf Coast, they are not appropriate for all sites. Each site must be evaluated for suitability. The site subsurface should be evaluated by an engineer or geologist to determine whether a pump-and-treat system is appropriate. Soil conditions, aquifer withdrawal rates, and the area of influence of potential groundwater extraction locations all play a role in determining if a site is suitable for pump-and-treat technology.

Design

Once the site has been evaluated and determined to be suitable, the design process can begin. The pump-and-treat equipment should be designed according to the conditions unique to the particular site to capture and treat the contaminant plume.  Adequate redundancy in the system design is necessary to cope with equipment breakdowns. The equipment should be designed according to site conditions and sized to treat the groundwater plume with the proper controls needed to maximize the system operation. Implementing adaptability and providing the necessary control functionality is vital. Having an experienced team of engineers and geologists is essential to the success of this process.

Furthermore, the choice of materials used in an ozone pump-and-treat system is paramount. Because ozone is a strong oxidizer, the materials specified in the system that will encounter ozone must not be resistant to oxidation. Schedule 80 PVC, stainless steel, brass, ceramic, and Viton™ are the materials of choice for such an application. 

Installation

Groundwater recovery wells, groundwater well pumps, plumbing, electrical, and the ozone treatment system itself must be installed before the actual pump-and-treat process can begin. The equipment should be properly installed by licensed contractors who have the experience, training, and know how to perform the installation. Installing tracer wire with subsurface utilities will make future line location and servicing easier. Ease of access, reducing environmental impacts, security, site preparation, and installation of utilities should be considered during the design and layout of these types of systems. Disposal of treated discharge water needs to be properly permitted and addressed.

Maintenance

Proper maintenance of a system is the difference between a system that “works” and a system that performs optimally. Most pump-and-treat systems are designed to run continuously. The use of logs to detail maintenance types and schedules are vital to minimize costs and down time. These logs can be used to track completed maintenance activities, critical spare parts inventory, and life-cycle trends with equipment. These logs also allow your team to schedule preventative maintenance activities. 

Ozone reacts and degrades many common materials. Material selection and maintenance is critically important to keeping ozone treatment system components running without interruption. Prior experience has taught us that schedule 80 PVC, stainless steel and brass components, ceramics, and Viton™ rubber gaskets, O-rings, and seals are materials of choice.

Controls

Wireless remote access allows the system to be monitored and adjusted without requiring personnel to be physically present at the site. This can save time and money and allows for electronic recordkeeping that details system run times, as well as system downtime. These controls also provide records that can be submitted to regulatory agencies for compliance purposes and to document system performance.

Expandability & Optimization

A pump-and-treat system should be designed in a manner that will allow for easy expansion. The ability to expand a system or focus groundwater treatment by withdrawing groundwater from specific areas can make a system more efficient and cost-effective. Based on data collected during the operation of the system and the changing size and concentrations in the groundwater plume, a properly designed system will allow for the user to easily increase and decrease extraction rates in specific areas of the system. This functionality allows the system to be easily optimized and treatment efficiencies increased. 

McFadden Engineering has years of experience working with different site remediation systems in many different industries and applications. Our expertise in this arena is first class and we would love an opportunity to provide these services to your next project.

Authors: Bill Gardner & Marshall Eschete, P.G.

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