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CSCE 2011 General Conference - Congrs gnrale 2011 de la SCGC

Ottawa, Ontario June 14-17, 2011 / 14 au 17 juin 2011

Edmontons Legacy of Wastewater Treatment


Sid Lodewyk, Hongliang Wang, Liliana Malesevic, and Ross Bulat Drainage Services, City of Edmonton, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Abstract: The citizens of Edmonton have depended on the North Saskatchewan River for drinking water and waste disposal since the late 1800s. The river is life and health to Edmontonians. When the population was small, pollution from the City was not a problem for this large and fast flowing river. In the 1950s, pollution from the City increased beyond the rivers ability to assimilate and the rivers condition rose to crisis levels. Investments by the City in wastewater treatment and by the Province in constructing dams to increase low winter flows have since restored the rivers health. This paper presents a history of contaminant loading to the river from City of Edmonton sources Wastewater Treatment Plant, combined sewer, and storm sewer discharges. Comprehensive data collected in the past ten years is augmented using a model for earlier years. Inputs of population, annual precipitation, treatment efficiency, and runoff coefficient are used in the model to produce estimates of Phosphorous, Nitrogen, Total Suspended Solids, Biochemical Oxygen Demand, and Bacteria loads from the City to the river. The resulting graphs clearly illustrate how Edmontons investment in Wastewater treatment has paid off in lowering loads to the river. The City has effectively rolled contaminant levels back to conditions in the 1920s. The concentrations of the City loads into the river are also calculated using the 7 day low flow values to illustrate the benefits of the dams on the river and the benefit of Edmontons investment in wastewater treatment.

1. Introduction The North Saskatchewan River is a major tributary of the Saskatchewan- Nelson river system, which drains a large part of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and a small part of the state of Montana. About one third of the people in Alberta live in the North Saskatchewan River basin. Most of the basins population is concentrated in the city of Edmonton (population: 782,439 in 2009), located on the river 491 kilometres downstream of the headwaters. Edmonton and other population centers on the river use it as a water supply and for waste assimilation. Most water withdrawn for use is returned after treatment. In fact 3 although nearly 1.95 billion m is withdrawn from the basin each year, 97% is returned to the river. The North Saskatchewan is a river of life for Edmontonians: we use it for our drinking water, for recreation, and for carrying away stormwater and treated wastewater. People have been discharging wastewater into the river since Europeans settled down in Edmonton in the late 1800s. Water quality in the River changes as it moves downstream due to inputs from a variety of sources. Nutrients and bacteria typically increase, while dissolved oxygen decreases downstream of larger urban populations. Improvements in water quality are largely due to treatment upgrades at the Gold Bar and Alberta Capital Region Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Water quality has been improving significantly since the

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1950s. However, with the increase of the population in Edmonton, ongoing work is still needed in order to maintain the loading within the rivers ability to assimilate, and to address new kinds of contaminants. This studys objective is to show the benefits of past sewer system and treatment facilities and to demonstrate the great benefits of the WWTPs. This report provides estimates of annual loadings to the river for six key water quality parameters throughout Edmontons 130 year history. A loading model was developed as a part of this study to assess the above six parameters for the many years for which there is no data available.

2. History of Wastewater Treatment in Edmonton In 1916, the first wastewater treatment plant, the Rossdale WWTP, was built on the north side of the North Saskatchewan River for a population of 26,000. About 50% of the Citys wastewater was treated during this period. The plant was shut down in 1918 to save costs during World War I and was never reopened. The second wastewater treatment plant, the Riverdale WWTP, was built in 1925. At the beginning, treatment was by screening and pre-sedimentation only. The plant was upgraded to an activated sludge process in 1931 and closed in 1956 with the opening of the Gold Bar WWTP. In 1930, the third wastewater treatment plant in Edmonton was constructed in Queen Elizabeth Park. The design capacity of the plant was for 10,000 persons. After the construction of the new plant just beside it in 1955, this plant was abandoned. It was dismantled and buried in 1970. The new plant was closed in 1972 after construction of the huge trunk line from the west end of Edmonton to the Gold Bar WWTP, but its concrete relics remain on the south bank of the river. The fourth wastewater treatment plant was built in 1931 at the Mill Creek Ravine. The plant serviced most of the sewage coming down the Mill Creek Ravine including waste from Gainers packing plant. This WWTP was also closed in 1955 with the opening of the Gold Bar WWTP. In 1956 the City of Edmonton opened the Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant. The advanced secondary processes of this plant were a first for western Canada. Upgraded several times, the plant now has a treatment capacity of 310 ML/d, and serves a population of 780,000 people in the Edmonton region. Figure 1 shows the locations of history of wastewater treatment plant in Edmonton.

Figure 1: Location of history of wastewater treatment plants in Edmonton

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3. Modeling and Assessment Approach A total loading model has been developed for this study. This is a numerical model built within Excel spreadsheets that accounts for the major City source loads of six parameters (TP, TSS, BOD, TKN, FC and NH3-N) to the river. The study area is the land within the current boundary of the City Edmonton (700 square kilometers). The study focuses on the North Saskatchewan River within the City of Edmonton and the study period was 1887-2009. Figure 2 shows the model structures for the loading study. The model is built around the following simplifying assumptions: Since the City of Edmonton has different types of land uses, to simplify the model, the concepts of total city runoff coefficient (rainfall and snowmelt-runoff model) and per-capita loading were used in this study to model the loading to the river. The model includes the land uses for residential, industrial, institutional/commercial, and agricultural area. Total loading =loading from wastewater +loading from stormwater +loading from CSO Pollutant effluent loading from WWTPs is based on plant efficiency and =loading to the WWTP*(1- overall removal %) Annual storm flow (m3)= Overall runoff coefficient to the river* Annual precipitation (mm)* Area of the city (km2)*103 The pollutants (TP, NH3-N and TKN) in storm discharge include the pollution from agricultural activities.

Urban runoff

Agriculture runoff

Storm sewers NSR CSOs WWTPs

CSs

Urban runoff Industrial Institutional Commercial

Sanitary sewers

Industrial Institutional Commercial

Figure 2: Model structures for the loading study 4. Results 4.1 Total Phosphorous (TP) loading

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The main sources of Phosphorous are human waste, fertilizers, and detergents in Edmonton. Usually fertilizer enters the river through stromwater runoff and detergents through the sewer network. Figure 3 shows the total Phosphorous loading to the river from 1878-2009 (at 5year intervals). As can be seen from the figure, TP kept increasing until the BNR (Biological Nutrient Removal) process was started in the 1990s. Due to the low TP removal efficiency of secondary treatment (activated sludge process), the TP effluent from Goldbar WWTP increased as the population in Edmonton grew prior to implementing the BNR process.
TP to the River
400 350

L a (o s o d t n)

300 250 200 150 100 50 0

Animal wastes CSO Storm wastewater

Two bioreactors and matching clarifiers were completed as the first stage of the tertiary treatment process by the end of 1996. In the summer of 1997, the new bioreactors and clarifiers began operating in the BNR mode. Gold Bar achieved full tertiary treatment in 2005. Since then, TP discharge to the river has been limited a very low TP level- meeting the 1.0 mg/l of TP discharge criteria set by the province. The loading to the river has been maintained at about 100 tons per year. Figure 4 shows the model results for Total Phosphorous (TP) discharge trend to the river if there were no treatment plants (WWTPs) in Edmonton. Without WWTPs, the TP discharge (pink line) would continually increase as the population grows. TP loading would have been 700 tons in 2009. However the reality (blue line) was that the increase was slowed from 1956 to 2000 with the WAS process at the GBWWTP and was then dramatically decreased since 1998 with tertiary treatment.
TP to the River
800 700 600 500 500,000 400 400,000 300 300,000 200 100 0
1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000

with WWTPs without WWTPs Population

78 18

85 18

95 18

05 19

Figure 3: TP to the River

15 19

900,000 800,000 700,000

25 19

35 19

Year

35000

30000

45 19

Loading (tons)

Loading (tons)

25000

population

20000

500,000 400,000 300,000

15000

10000 200,000 5000 100,000 0

200,000 100,000 0
2010

1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010

year

year

Figure 4: TP to the River without WWTPs

Figure 5: BOD to the River without WWTPs

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Population

600,000

with WWTPs without WWTPs Population

55 19

65 19

BOD to the River


900,000 800,000 700,000 600,000

75 19

85 19

95 19

05 20

4.2 Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) Loading BOD is discharged to the river mainly through the sanitary sewers and WWTPs with small contributions from combined sewer overflows (CSO) and stormwater. Even though there were four Wastewater Treatment Plants during 1910 to 1956, their low treatment efficiency and relative low capacity still resulted in a large amount of BOD discharged into the river. Figure 5 simulates the BOD discharge trend to the river if there were no treatment plants (WWTPs) in Edmonton. Without WWTPs, the BOD discharge (pink line) would continually increase as the population grows. The reality (blue line) was that the discharge decreased since Goldbar WWTP started operation in 1956. Then, there was a slight upward trend as population grew. The discharge rate decreased again at the end of the 1990s due to tertiary treatment. 4.3 Total Suspended Solid (TSS) Loading TSS discharges to the river in Edmonton mainly through storm outfalls, combined sewer overflows (CSOs), creeks, and WWTPs. Figure 4.4 shows that the City of Edmontons total suspended solids discharge changed from one year to another depending on the result of fluctuating weather. Annual variation in precipitation had more important impacts for TSS than other parameters (i.e. TP, BOD, TKN, FC and NH3-N). Figure 6 also simulates the TSS discharge trend to the river if there were no WWTPs in Edmonton. In general, the TSS discharge without WWTPs (pink line) would continually increase as the population grows, since population and developed land contributes to TSS. However, TSS loading largely depends on the weather, and the trend of TSS loading without WWTPs would fluctuate according to the rainfall. The reality (blue line) was that the loading had a similar trend but the loading growth was much lower than without WWTPs. TSS loading would be about 36,000 tons per year higher with no treatment in 2009. The chart also shows the large benefit in TSS loading reduction due to the operation of the Gold Bar WWTP.
TSS to the River
40,000 35,000 30,000 25,000 500,000 20,000 400,000 15,000 300,000 10,000 5,000 0
1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990

TKN to the River


900,000 4,500 4,000 3,500 900,000

Loading (tons)

Loading (tons)

with WWTPs without WWTPs Population

800,000 700,000

with WWTPs without WWTsP Population

800,000 700,000 600,000 500,000 400,000 300,000 200,000 100,000 0

population

600,000

3,000 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0

200,000 100,000 0
2000 2010

1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010

year

year

Figure 6: TSS to the River without WWTPs 4.4 Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN) Loading

Figure 7:TKN to the River without WWTPs

Figure 7 shows the total Kjeldahl Nitrogen loading to the river from 1878-2009. As can be seen from the figure, TKN kept increasing until BNR (Biological Nutrient Removal) started operation in the 1990s. Due to the low TKN removal efficiency of secondary treatment (activated sludge process), the TKN effluent

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Population

from the Goldbar WWTP still increased with the population growth in Edmonton prior to implementing the BNR process. Figure 7 also simulates the TKN discharge trend to the river if there were no treatment Plants (WWTPs) in Edmonton. Without WWTPs, the TKN discharge (pink line) would continually increase as the population grows. However the reality (blue line) was that the increase slowed down from 1956 to the end of 1900s and then the discharge decreased dramatically after 1998 due to tertiary treatment upgrades. 4.5 Ammonia (NH3-N) Loading NH3-N pollution mainly comes from human waste (feces and urine) and fertilizers in Edmonton. Sources of fertilizer are surface runoff and the source of human waste is untreated sanitary and combined sewer discharges. Figure 8 shows the Ammonia (NH3-N) loading to the river from 1878-2009. As can be seen from the figure, Ammonia (NH3-N) kept increasing until BNR (Biological Nutrient Removal-Nitrification Process) started operation in the 1990s. Due to the low Ammonia (NH3-N) removal efficiency of secondary treatment (activated sludge process), the ammonia (NH3-N) effluent from Goldbar WWTP still increased with the population in Edmonton before implementing the BNR process. Figure 8 also simulates the ammonia (NH3-N) discharge trend to the river if there were no treatment Plants (WWTPs) in Edmonton. Without WWTPs, the Ammonia (NH3-N) discharge (pink line) would continually increase as the population grows. However the reality (blue line) was that the increase slowed down from 1956 to about 1997 and then the discharge drastically decreased after 1998 with the implementation of tertiary treatment. NH3-N is maintained at about 450 tons per year currently. 4.6 Micro-organism (Bacteria) loading ---Fecal coliform (E. coli) In discharges of human and animal feces, sewer overflows and organic matter can contribute to elevated levels of bacteria and other microorganisms in lakes and rivers. Figure 9 shows that the City of Edmontons Fecal coliform (FC) loading increased as the population increased. In 1998, UV disinfection was introduced at the Goldbar Wastewater Treatment Plant, resulting in dramatic decreases in bacteria loads in the river. This method, which complements the plants chemical-free processes, achieves a reduction in effluent coliform levels of 99.9%. Figure 9 also simulates the FC discharge trend to the river if there were no treatment Plants (WWTPs) in Edmonton. In general, the FC discharge without WWTPs (pink line) would continually increase with the population growth. However, the reality (blue line) was that the loading had the same trend but the rate of increase was much lower than without WWTPs.
NH3-N to the River
3,500 800,000 2,500,000

FC to the River
900,000

Loading (cfu*1012/y)

3,000

Loading (tons)

Populkation

2,500

with WWTPs without WWTPs Population

700,000 600,000 500,000

2,000,000

with WWTPs without WWTPs Population

800,000 700,000

2,000 400,000 1,500 300,000 1,000 200,000 100,000 0

1,500,000 500,000 400,000 1,000,000 300,000 500,000 200,000 100,000

500

1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010

1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010

year

year

Figure 8: NH3-N to the River without WWTPs

Figure 9 FC to the River without WWTP

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Population

600,000

5. Environmental Impact on the River 5.1 Seven-day-low flows for the river The flows in the North Saskatchewan River change from the dry winter season to the wet spring and summer season. In dry seasons, when flow rates reach the lowest level, contaminant concentrations would be at the worst levels. The exception to this is TSS since the major source of this contaminant is stormwater which is not discharged in the winter. To increase winter flows for water supply to dilute waste loads and to provide peak power during the winter period, two dams, the Bighorn and Brazeau were built in 1965 and 1972, respectively. Flow in the North Saskatchewan River is regulated by these two dams, the Bighorn on the main stem near the mouth of the Bighorn River, and the Brazeau on a major tributary -the Brazeau River. To investigate the changes of the low flows by dams, seven-day-low flows were calculated from 19112007 in dry seasons (October to April), and these are shown in figure10. In general, seven-day-low flows increased about 4 times after the two dams were built. These increased flows effectively dilute the contaminant concentrations discharged from Edmonton.
NorthSaskatchewanRiveratEdmonton Minimum7DayAverageFlowOct1Apr30
140 Minimum7DayAverageFlow 120 1965BrazeauFacilityOnline 100 80 60 40 20 0 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001

DailyFlowm3/s

1972BighornFacilityOnline

Year

Figure 10: River Minimum 7 Day Average Flow at Edmonton

5.2 Contaminant Concentrations in the river 5.2.1 TP concentrations in the river River flow and loading are two factors that influence contaminant concentrations in the river. Lower flow and higher loading will elevate the concentrations; higher flow and lower loading will reduce the concentrations, Figure 11 shows the Total Phosphorous (TP) concentrations calculated to be from city sources in the river from 1911-2007. It can be seen from the figure that the TP concentrations for 7-daylow flow stopped increasing after 1972 even though the TP annual loadings increased from 220 tons/year

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to 300 tons/year before implementing the BNR process in 1996. TP concentrations dramatically decreased after BNR implementation. 5.2.2 BOD concentrations in the river Figure 12 shows the BOD concentrations calculated from city sources in the river from 1911-2007. It can be seen from the figure that the BOD concentrations for 7-day-low flow continue decreasing after 1972 even though the annual loadings increased from 2000 tons/year to 3500 tons/year before Goldbar WWTP was upgraded in 1996. After 1996, BOD concentrations were kept at about 1.5 mg/L.
Worst 7 day TP concentration in the river due to CoE
0.40

Worst 7 day BOD concentration in the river due to CoE

Con. for 7 day low flow

10.0 Con. for 7 day low flow

City induced Concentrtion (mg/L)

0.35

City induced concentrtion (m g/L)

con on day with mean flow dam 1972 dam 1965

9.0 8.0 7.0 6.0 5.0 4.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 1910

0.30

con. on day with mean flow dam 1972 dam 1965 GBWWTP Built

0.25

BNR in 1996
0.20

GBWWTP Built

0.15

0.10

0.05

0.00 1910

1920

1930

1940

1950

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

2010

1920

1930

1940

1950

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

2010

Year

Year

Figure 11: TP concentrations in the river

Figure 12: BOD concentrations in the river

5.2.3 FC concentrations in the river Figure 13 shows the FC concentrations calculated in the river from 1911-2007 from city of Edmonton sources. It can be seen from the figure that the FC concentrations for the 7-day-low flow were maintained at almost the same level between 1972 and 1997 even though FC annual loadings increased by 60%. After 1998, FC concentrations were reduced significantly through the construction of the UV defection process at Goldbar WWTP in 1998. 5.2.4 TKN concentrations in the river Figure 14 shows the TKN concentrations calculated from city sources in the river from 1911-2007. It can be seen from the figure that the TKN concentrations for 7-day-low flow decreased slightly after 1972 even though the TKN annual loadings increased from 1600 tons/year to 2200 tons/year before implementing BNR process in 1996. TKN concentrations dramatically decreased to below 0.25 mg/L after BNR implementation.

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Worst 7 day FC concentration in the river due to CoE


80,000 Con. for 7 day low flow 3.00 2.80

Worst 7 day TKN concentration in the river due to CoE

City induced concentrtion (cfu/100mL)

70,000

60,000

dam 1965 UV disfection in 1998 GBWWTP Built

City induced concentrtion (mg/L)

con. on day with mean flow dam 1972

2.60 2.40 2.20 2.00 1.80 1.60 1.40 1.20 1.00 0.80 0.60 0.40 0.20

Con. for 7 day low flow Con. on day with mean flow dam 1972 dam 1965 BNR in 1996 GBWWTP Built

50,000

40,000

30,000

20,000

10,000

0 1910

1920

1930

1940

1950

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

2010

0.00 1910

1920

1930

1940

1950

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

2010

Year

Year

Figure 13: FC concentrations in the river

Figure 14: TKN concentrations in the river

6. Conclusions 130 years of loading from the City of Edmonton to the NSR have been estimated using a simple model in this report. The report shows that annual loading to the river today is back to the 1920s level for TP, BOD, FC, NH3-N, and TKN this is even though the population now is about 10 times the population in the 1920s due to water quality improvement in Edmonton. The loading for most parameters was at its largest level prior to Goldbar WWTP operation in 1956 - the river was most contaminated in the 1950s. The population had reached 220,000 and the primary WWTPs had low removal efficiencies at that time.

Except for TSS, wastewater produced by human and animal wastes contributes the major part
of the loading to the river. Stormwater is the main contributor for TSS loading. BOD loading was reduced effectively due to the state of the art Goldbar WWTP that began operation in 1956. BOD loadings after the plant was built show that secondary treatment has reduced BOD effectively. Nutrients (N and P) were significantly reduced after implementing the Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) process in the 1990s. It is evident that BNR has reduced TP, TKN, and NH3-N pollution effectively. Fecal coliform was dramatically reduced after the UV disinfecting process was used for the Goldbar WWTP in 1997. TSS loading was different from one year to another and depended on the result of fluctuating weather. Increasing runoff coefficients due to urbanization have resulted in a slight general trend upward over time for TSS loading. Seven-day-low flows were calculated from 1911-2007 in winter low flow seasons (October to April). It shows seven-day-low flows increased by about 4 times after the two dams-the Bighorn and Brazeau were built. Concentrations of TP, BOD, TKN, NH3-N, and FC were calculated using their annual loadings and seven-day-low flows. Except for TSS, contaminant concentrations in the river were at their highest levels during dry seasons before the dams were built. TSS has higher concentrations in wet weather since the storm system is the main contributor of TSS to the river. The results show that increased flows by the dams in the dry winter season effectively dilute the contaminant concentrations discharged from Edmonton.

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The following graph provides actual (i.e. not modeled) data demonstrating the effectiveness of the treatment processes in Edmonton through the measured values of dissolved oxygen in the river water (in February and March).

Historical Dissolved Oxygen Levels at the Saskatchewan/Alberta Border


Residual Dissolved Oxygen mg/L 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 1958 1960 1966 1970 1980 1986 2006 2008 2010

Year

Figure 15: Historical dissolved oxygen levels in the NSR (February /March measurements)

7. References Bouthillier, P.H. A history of stream pollution assessment and control- North Saskatchewan River, 1950s to 1980s, 1984. Chamberlain, R. The history of Sewage Treatment in Edmonton, internal City of Edmonton report, 2005 Lodewyk, S., Wang, H. Historical Loading to the North Saskatchewan River from Edmonton, internal City of Edmonton report, 2010

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