Board approves Water Reclamation Facility, relocation of ARL Steam Plant

A computer rendering of the planned Wastewater Reclamation Facility, which will be able to process of up to 3 million gallons of wastewater daily. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —The Penn State Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning today (Feb. 21) approved the final plans and funding for upgrades to the University’s Water Reclamation Facility. In addition, the trustees approved final plans and funds for the relocation of the Applied Research Laboratory Steam Plant.

Water Reclamation Facility Upgrade

One of the ways Penn State’s dedication to sustainability is demonstrated is through its treatment of wastewater and its Living Filter. In a process unique to the University, the treatment process ends with spray irrigation across more than 600 acres of University-owned agricultural fields and forest sites less than three miles from the core of campus. Through this Living Filter, the irrigated water naturally filters through plants, soils and rocks and recharges the regional water table. This process has prevented direct discharge of wastewater to surface streams since 1983.

Penn State’s existing wastewater treatment plant has been in use since 1913. While it continues to meet all permit conditions, it has not seen any significant upgrades for more than 60 years. 

The upgraded facility will be permitted to process up to 3 million gallons of wastewater daily and will have a microfiltration process to produce reuse water. The reuse water can be used as a replacement for potable water for DEP-approved uses such as irrigation, cooling tower make-up and toilet flushing. In turn, this will reduce groundwater withdrawals by 300,000 to 500,000 gallons per day.

Also included in the project scope is a pre-treatment facility, which will have protective pre-screening and odor control, as well as upgrades to the effluent pump station and improvements to the safety and security of the site through modified access to the facility.

The total project budget for the Water Reclamation Facility is $65.2 million.

Applied Research Laboratory Steam Plant Relocation

In following the ARL Capital Plan and in support of three new major ARL research programs totaling $620 million, the University plans to relocate the ARL Laboratory Steam Plant to its Energy Science and Power Systems Test Facility in Benner Township.

The project provides the opportunity to consolidate engineers, technicians, test resources, infrastructure and data acquisition with capacity for future growth and capabilities. The facility will be approximately 21,000-square feet with a total project budget of $14.5 million.

Hoffman Leakey Architects were previously approved by the board in May 2018 to design the ARL Energy Science and Power Systems Test Facility and also completed the feasibility study for the relocation of the ARL Steam Plant research facility.



Last Updated February 21, 2019