Beneficial Re-Use of Treated Wastewater

Mission: To enhance the environment, quality of life, and economy of the Centre Region by reuse of reclaimed water.

What is reclaimed water?  Reclaimed water is water that has been treated to meet standards that allow the water to be reused.

Below are the text versions of the Executive Summaries for: the BioGuide Technology Report, the Transmission Corridor Study for the Beneficial Reuse Project, the  Centre Region ACT 537 Plan, and the Preliminary Design Report of the Wastewater Treatment Plant. These articles give a brief outline of the "hows" and "whys" and future plans for the Benficial Reuse Project, and for wastewater planning for the Centre Region. If you are looking for more details, the entire report can be downloaded in the form of an Adobe Acrobat file. These require the Adobe Acrobat Reader which can be downloaded here.

To download the Transmission Corridor Study, click here.

To download the ACT 537 Plan (with no drawings), click here. Due to long download times and space considerations, later we hope to have the drawings for the ACT 537 Plan available, as either part of the Adobe Acrobat document, or as separate downloadable images.

Test results from the Phase 1 Pilot Test are available in the Pilot Report. Since this is a relatively short document, there is no Executive Summary like there was for the previous two reports. The Pilot Report is a 63kb Adobe Acrobat file. To download, click here.

To download the Preliminary Design Report of the Wastewater Treatment Plant click here. This is a 4.6MB Adobe Acrobat file.

To download the BioGuide Technology Final Report click here. This a 101kb Adobe Acrobat file.


The University Area Joint Authority (UAJA), in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), has implemented a full-scale pilot application of the BioGuide wastewater control technology. An agreement for technical services was signed by both parties and is provided as Appendix 1. A grant of $250,000 was approved by DEP through the Chesapeake Bay Program to carry out this project, with the University Area Joint Authority as a source of matching funds. The Authority participated in a pilot-scale demonstration in the last half of 1996 prior to selection for the full-scale project. The full-scale project was initiated on September 3, 1998 and is ongoing.

The Authority is committed to adding nitrogen reduction to the treatment of its effluent, adding wastewater reuse capability, and increasing current solids recycling capacity in the next upgrade to the facility. The innovative BioGuide wastewater control technology, provided by BioChem Technology, allows real-time, on-line monitoring of wastewater treatment facilities to optimize treatment efficiency. The pilot project demonstrated that use of this technology might allow treatment facilities to recover actual treatment volume through optimization of existing capacity. This recovered capacity could then be applied toward plant modifications to achieve denitrification. Successful implementation of this project will demonstrate that this technology is an economically viable alternative to conventional engineering techniques for total nitrogen reduction. This comparison will be made.

There were two secondary objectives of this project. An analysis of possible energy savings realized by optimization of aeration blower output associated with process optimization was conducted. Results of this analysis will be presented. The BioGuide system also provides continuous monitoring of the treatment process. This information allows operators to make

control decisions with confidence. David A. Smith is administering the full-scale project for UAJA. Mr. Smith is currently the Assistant Executive Director and has been involved with the project from its inception. Herbert, Rowland and Grubic, Inc. is UAJA’s consulting engineer. Brian L. Book and Steven M. Siegfried from that firm have provided invaluable assistance. BioChem Technology has also been an active partner in the project implementation. Mr. George Lee, President of BioChem, and his lead engineer Mr. Xin Yang and their staff have been very helpful. The BioGuide project has been ongoing almost two years. All data and experience gleaned from implementation of the project has been analyzed and is contained in this final report.



In 1998 the Centre Region Council of Governments (COG) voted to endorse the Beneficial Reuse Alternative as the preferred alternative for treated wastewater effluent disposal. The Centre Region COG asked the University Area Joint Authority (UAJA) to further define the Beneficial Reuse Alternative and to develop responses to questions raised by elected officials. Based on this action, UAJA began a more detailed study of this alternative with the goal of addressing community questions and concerns and preparing an amendment to the Centre Region Act 537 Sewage Facilities Plan for consideration by the municipalities. This Transmission Corridor Study summarizes the work completed by UAJA in response to the direction provided by the Centre Region COG.

The mission of the Beneficial Reuse project is to reuse water to benefit the environment, quality of life, and economy of the region. This mission differs significantly from traditional wastewater “disposal” projects, and will be the first such project in Pennsylvania to recognize reuse water as a resource, which can be used for the benefit of the community.

The Beneficial Reuse project consists of the treatment and purification of treated water from the UAJA wastewater treatment plant using microfiltration, and some combination of ozonation, ultraviolet light, and chlorination. The treatment will be followed by transmission and distribution throughout the Centre Region for industrial, agricultural, and commercial reuse, and environmental enhancement projects.

One of the advantages of the project is that it is expandable to meet the future growth of the community. This expandability leads to an incremental approach to water reuse management. UAJA needs to find reuse opportunities for an additional 150,000 gallons per day flow increase each year beginning when the direct discharge to Spring Creek reaches the existing 6.0 MGD discharge permit limit (approximately 2004). If UAJA is successful in marketing the reuse water, demand may be greater than the need to produce.

UAJA can respond to this demand by discharging less water directly to Spring Creek. This incremental approach is advantageous because it allows the cost of the project to be spread over a longer time period.

To satisfy Act 537 sewage facilities planning requirements, UAJA must have a reliable reuse customer that can consistently utilize the reuse water. One of the primary benefits of the Beneficial Reuse Alternative is that the water can be used year-round to enhance the natural environment. In the future and as confidence in the advantages of reuse water grows, the community will have more flexibility as it considers reuse proposals. The Slab Cabin Run sub watershed was identified as a good candidate for environmental enhancement because of the impact of the water withdrawn from the groundwater in this sub watershed by the State College Borough Water Authority. The reuse water could offset some of this withdraw and help maintain the stream flow in Slab Cabin Run.

UAJA has received preliminary interest for industrial, commercial and agricultural reuse amounting to 5% of the total capacity needed or one year’s growth in flow. These reuse customers will be supplied through an 8-mile transmission main to be constructed from UAJA through the Dale Summit industrial park to the Slab Cabin Run sub-watershed.

The UAJA Project Management Team recommends the Beneficial Reuse Project be implemented in phases as follows:



This document has been prepared by the University Area Joint Authority (UAJA), in cooperation with the Centre Regional Planning Commission (CRPC), to serve as a revision to the 1990 Centre Region Act 537 Plan. The purpose of the revision is to provide a comprehensive, detailed summary of the extensive wastewater planning and technological based evaluation that has been completed in accordance with the long-range planning goals of the 1990 Act 537 Plan. This revision has been assembled from numerous reports, studies, and pilot tests which have been completed by the UAJA since the 1990 Plan was adopted. Started in the mid-1990’s, the project has evolved from a classic wastewater needs based planning solution to an integrated and innovative Watershed Management Program. The planning for this document has been intensive and detailed due to the complex issues associated with the unique environmental characteristics of the Centre Region, most notably the Spring Creek watershed. A total of fourteen wastewater treatment alternatives were developed and analyzed for technical merit, economic feasibility, and overall benefit to the environment. As the planning work has progressed, some of these alternatives have been eliminated as viable solutions due to one major issue – a conventional expansion of the existing UAJA plant with a stream discharge in excess of 6.0 Million Gallons Per Day (MGD) has been ruled out due to negative thermal impacts upon Spring Creek determined by the 316(a) demonstration.

The 316(a) demonstration conducted by UAJA lasted for more than four years and concluded that the temperature effects of discharges from the UAJA plant up to 6.0 MGD had no adverse impacts to Spring Creeks indigenous populations. However, an extrapolation of modeling completed as part of the 316(a) demonstration indicated that any discharge above 6.0 MGD on an annual average basis will have an adverse impact upon the indigenous populations of Spring Creek and will not be permitted. The recommended alternative, known as Beneficial Reuse, has been developed by the UAJA as a method to allow managed growth to continue within the Centre Region, while maintaining a high quality of life for the residents of the Region and protecting the natural environment. The Beneficial Reuse alternative incorporates improvements to the existing UAJA wastewater treatment plant; transmission, distribution, and storage system components to convey water to reuse customers and stream augmentation points; and constructed wetlands to act as natural buffers.

The recommended alternative has an estimated cost of approximately $55 Million to implement in total with three phases proposed for 2002, 2008 and 2013 respectively. The proposed phases are as follows:



The UAJA, Spring Creek Pollution Control Facility will be expanded to treat 9.0 MGD of raw wastewater. Additionally, the upgrade will include a regional compost facility that will have a nominal capacity to treat the biosolids from 12.0 MGD of wastewater. The excess compost capacity will allow UAJA to accept biosolids from other sources in the Spring Creek Watershed and the surrounding area. Finally the expanded facility will be designed to incorporate a septage receiving station with the ability to receive the Centre Regions on-lot residuals assuming 2020 "buildout" and a pump out frequency of once every three years.

The total cost of the project is anticipated to be $55 Million. With the following schedule for completion:

Table 3 – Project Schedule

Permit Design Activities July 2000 – December 2000
Permit Submission December 31, 2000
Detailed Construction Design December 2000 – July 2001
Project Funding June 2001 – September 2001
Advertise for Construction Bids October 2001
Award Construction Contracts December 2001
Begin Construction Spring 2002
Construction Spring 2002- Fall 2003
Initial Start-Up Fall 2003
Project Completion January 2004


In general the expansion and upgrade to the facility will incorporate the following major components:

Table 4 – Proposed Unit Process

Liquid Treatment Biosolid Treatment
Headworks Sludge Thickening
Fine Screening Systems Thickeners
Grit Collection and Removal Systems Polymer Feed System
Total Plant Influent Metering
Primary Clarifiers Aerobic Sludge Holding
Settling Basins Holding Tanks
Primary Sludge Pumping System Sludge Transport Pumping System
Scum Pumping System
Biological Treatment Tanks Sludge Dewatering
Anaerobic Reactors with Mixing Belt Filter Press Systems
Aerobic Reactors with Fine Pore Aeration System Polymer Feed System
Anoxic Reactors for Nitrate Removal Permanganate Feed System
BFP Cake Transport System
Final Clarifiers Composting Facility
Settling Basins Blending System
Return Activated Sludge Pumping System Aeration System
Waste Activated Sludge Pumping System
Chemical Addition Systems Septage Receiving System
Alum Storage and Feed System Septage Screen
Polymer Storage and Feed System Transfer Pumping System
Tertiary Filtration
Mono-media Filters
Backwash System
Disinfection & Dechlorination
UV Disinfection Tanks
Advance Water Treatment
Microfiltration System
Storage Tanks
Chlorine Disinfection
UV Disinfection