NATIONAL AWARD WINNER – Barium/Radium Removal Pretreatment System

Pretreatment SystemThe Village of Gilberts worked closely with Baxter & Woodman to develop an award-winning Pretreatment System for use at their water plant. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) placed limits on the concentration of barium discharged by the Village to the Waters of Illinois.  Simultaneously, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency(IEMA)– Division of Nuclear Safety enacted new regulations limiting the radium concentration of material destined for disposal by land application or by landfill as well as the amount of radium mixed with farm soil. The IEPA limits and IEMA regulation meant Gilberts would have to look closely at its treatment and discharge procedures to avoid non-compliance and mitigate costs.

A Barium/Radium Removal Pretreatment System was added to the Village’s existing municipal ion exchange softener regeneration system, allowing compliance with new IEPA NPDES limits and IEMA residual disposal regulations in a cost-effective manner. The Pretreatment System uses technologies not previously utilized at municipal water treatment plants.  During the process, highly corrosive wastewater, contaminated with barium and radium, is separated from normal regeneration wastewater.  The barium and radium precipitates in a specially designed vessel.  Then, dewatered sludge that complies with IEMA regulations is sent to a landfill for disposal.

Since implementation, barium in the plant’s effluent was reduced from 6-8 mg/l to less than 0.4 mg/l.  The concentration of radium in the biosolids was reduced from 98-100 pCi/g to 13 pCi/g the first quarter after start-up.  These results are expected to improve as the efficiency of the pretreatment system improves.ACEC 2015 Spring Conference

  • 2015 APWA Project of the Year – Environment less than $5 million
  • 2015 Fox Valley Branch – Technical Innovation Award
  • 2015 ACEC-IL Engineering Excellence Honor Award
  • 2015 ACEC National Engineering Excellence Grand Award