News Jul 18, 2023

Boldly Moving Forward: Partnership Leverages Intelligent O&M and Aqua DNA for Net Zero US Wastewater System

Learn how Jacobs is assisting the City of Wilmington to deploy new technologies and systems to reduce chemical and energy consumption and move toward a net zero energy impact.

Aerial view of a wastewater treatment facility

In 2020, the City of Wilmington selected Jacobs to operate and manage its wastewater treatment plant, combined sewer overflow facilities and its Renewable Energy Biosolids Facility (REBF). Located 30 minutes south of Philadelphia, Wilmington is Delaware's largest city and the state's economic engine, with a wastewater operation serving more than 400,000 residents.

At Jacobs, we support critical water and wastewater needs around the world. Our twenty-year agreement with the City of Wilmington furthers Jacobs' history of long-term partnerships with forward-thinking global clients, providing innovative solutions and investing in impactful community initiatives.

Jacobs is partnering with Wilmington to effectively operate its facilities and lead the city in its Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) commitments. As part of the agreement, we’re making significant facilities and systems investments to improve operability and performance. Our team is working with the city to leverage new technologies and systems to realize the potential for the plant to become a net-zero energy facility and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future. The facility also plays a critical role in addressing the wastewater, stormwater and energy needs of the city, supporting the Wilmington 2028 initiative that's guiding growth and development to help Wilmington become a sustainable and resilient city focusing on infrastructure and services, resource conservation and climate readiness.

We’re also using digital solutions to improve Wilmington’s plant operations and reduce waste and energy consumption. This approach addresses challenges related to operational efficiency with digital solutions, renewable energy management and funding advisory.

Cross-collaboration and team building is crucial to the success of our innovative, technical approach. Our teams worked together to build trust in the program’s early phase and as a result, we introduced two Digital OneWater solutions:

  • Aqua DNA: for enhanced Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) monitoring thus increasing data capture to enable improved modeling, predictive operations, training and continuous improvement.
  • Intelligent O&M: for process optimization by improving the effluent chlorination algorithm which provides automated notification to adjust chlorination setpoints for optimal dosing. Intelligent O&M blends Jacobs’ water subject matter expertise in operations, design and data science, with Palantir’s Foundry platform and user interface, providing direct and predictive guidance to frontline Operations & Maintenance (O&M) staff.

“Our partnership with the City of Wilmington directly incorporates all three of Jacobs’ strategic accelerators and allowed Jacobs to support our client with advisory services that enable capital planning and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) grant funding,” says  Jacobs SVP and General Manager, Americas North Chrissy Thom. “Understanding what was possible from IIJA grant applications, allowed us to optimize capital spending and project prioritization.”

Jacobs understands the vital importance water and wastewater systems have in our communities. Our partnership with the City of Wilmington demonstrates our commitment to creating a more connected, sustainable world while delivering innovations that address the challenges of the future with cutting-edge digital solutions. As with all our projects, we continue to remain laser focused on safety and have an excellent record to date within a complex treatment plant site. Since the start of the contract in July 2020, there have been no lost time incidents during over 254,000 Jacobs work hours.

Jacobs and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

Learn more about how Jacobs is working to help clients across the United States secure federal funding for projects that make our cities and communities more connected and sustainable.

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