The Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD), headquartered in Bethel in southwestern Alaska, is one of the state’s largest rural school districts, serving a 58,900-sq-km area, roughly the size of the state of West Virginia. With only 3,800 students, the LKSD operates several small, very remote sites with many of the wastewater treatment systems on-site decentralized systems.
Recently, the LKSD began to implement district-wide upgrades to its schools’ wastewater treatment systems. Package treatment plants were recommended for three of the more remote schools that were evaluated. A compact system was specified because the water and wastewater systems had limited space available. The LKSD also has a district-wide SCADA system that monitors many critical elements of its schools’ operations, including their wastewater treatment systems.
The LKSD worked closely with its engineer and determined that a 100,000 L/day Xpress™ MBR package plant would best meet the district’s needs. The solution met all critical design elements: small footprint, remote monitoring capability, and packaged system approach. Since the three schools were very remote, the contractor elected to pre-construct a building around the Xpress system to simplify installation. The unit was shipped from the factory in Thomasville, Georgia, to Billings, Montana, for full assembly. The building was then deconstructed for shipping to Seattle, where the Xpress unit and building components were loaded onto a barge and shipped to the school sites, which were all accessible by waterway. The Xpress unit and building were off-loaded from the barge and reconstructed at the site.
Decentralized systems have been used for many years to meet a variety of project requirements. MBR systems offer many advantages over more conventional wastewater treatment systems, and packaged MBR systems are a proven alternative for decentralized treatment.