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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

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Base plans upgrades to its Industrial Waste Treatment Plant

By Marti Gatlin | | August 1, 2014


Considered a critical component of Marine Depot Maintenance Command/Production Plant Albany’s daily operations, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Industrial Waste Treatment Plant may undergo upgrades, which will save energy, money and time, officials said.

The IWTP removes harmful chemicals used by PPA to repair military vehicles and small arms from industrial waste water before the water is returned to the environment, according to John Fondren, supervisory chemist, IWTP, Public Works, Installation and Environment Division, MCLB Albany.

“(The Industrial Waste Treatment Plant) takes the harmful things out of the water so it becomes a good source of ground water,” Fondren said. “When it returns to the environment, it’s clean water, free of all heavy metals.”

Col. Jeffrey Q. Hooks, commander, MDMC, stressed the importance of the IWTP’s function.

“The Industrial Waste Treatment Plant is critical to MDMC because it processes all of our industrial waste water with no impact to our operations,” Hooks said. “Industrial waste water can be sent directly from each shop via a dedicated Industrial Waste Treatment Plant pipe system to the treatment plant. The network of Industrial Waste Treatment Plant piping covers our entire compound allowing waste to be quickly disposed. 

“Without this system, each shop would have to pump all of its (industrial) waste water into drums and then haul it to a processing plant for treatment; some shops would have to be shut down because it would be difficult to properly contain the waste, ultimately impacting production, and in some cases significantly,” Hooks added. “The Industrial Waste Treatment Plant allows us to process all of our own industrial waste water, which saves time, money and helps ensure maximum protection of the environment.”

Plans call for a roughly $9 million new plant to be built on the current site to maximize the IWTP’s efficiency, Fondren and Jeanne Geisel, structural civil engineer, Public Works, I&E Division, said. The IWTP is located at the corner of West Matthews and Broome Boulevard, right across from PPA.

Geisel noted the IWTP originally was built in the 1950s when the base opened. Over the years, other upgrades have been done.

“Right now we have pre-final plans, and contract documents are 95 percent complete, so we are just waiting on funding from Headquarters Marine Corps,” she said.

Geisel outlined the upgrades.

“The main portion of the upgrade is to streamline the process,” she said. “Over the years (Production Plant Albany) has changed what they do in their processes, so all the waste coming to the plant has changed. It used to be a lot of oil and grease, and these days we separate all that out, so now (the plant) is receiving heavy metals. When it was originally designed, it was designed for something different. We are coming in and modernizing to what today’s standards are for industrial waste treatment.”

Geisel and Fondren both noted the new plant will be able to treat more waste and save energy.

“The energy savings (will) range from 33-50 percent of the annual usage, which could mean savings of up to $20,000 per year,” she said. “The new state-of-the-art controls will help the base save money by using the treatment chemicals more efficiently, reducing the overall operating time, reducing the

sludge volume, which saves disposal costs and reduces labor hours including overtime. We will also have a safer plant to work in, which benefits our personnel and increases the safety performance of the base.”

According to Geisel, the last time the IWTP had a major upgrade was in the early 1990s and last year it received a nearly $800,000 belt press upgrade.

“During construction, the plant will have to remain operational,” she said. “I think the construction time on this is almost two years. If we can get the funding and everything gets awarded, it could start early next year. This is a repair project that’s out of the operations and maintenance budget the Marine Corps (receives).

“Once the project is completely done, it will be a modern-type facility they could bring visitors to and actually show them this is state-of-the-art treating industrial waste,” Geisel continued, noting a small project costing about $700,000 to replace the plant’s pump station will start in a few weeks to make the pumps more reliable with completely automated controls.

 “They’ve incorporated this into those plans for (the new plant),” she said. “(It will be) completed roughly in five months, pretty much done by the end of the year.”

Another benefit of the new plant is maintenance will be able to be conducted on the IWTP while it is still operating, Fondren said.

“(We) now handle 100,000 gallons a day,” he said. “When we do the upgrades, (we could handle) probably 250,000 gallons a day. We are planning to make it a continuous plant, scaled down in size and one that could allow us to have probably as much as 50 percent more capacity because it could run continuously and automatically.”

Now, four plant operators work in two shifts from 7 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week monitoring the IWTP.

Once the industrial waste water is cleaned by the plant, it goes into a sewer pipe and then into a combined pipe with sanitary waste, which goes onto to the City of Albany, Fondren said. The hazardous waste is transported to a hazardous waste landfill site in Emelle, Alabama. 

“There’s never a time when water doesn’t come into this plant,” he said. “We have to be here.”