Brown and Caldwell
The Bush Beans Process Water Reclamation Facility.

Nation’s Best Water Projects Recognized for Innovation, Affordability

Sept. 2, 2022
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) has announced the winners of its annual Operational and Design Excellence Awards competition.

WALNUT CREEK, CA — The Water Environment Federation (WEF) has announced the winners of its annual Operational and Design Excellence Awards competition.

The coveted awards honor examples of top-of-industry excellence in operations and design, which contribute to the advancement of the water environment industry. The 2022 installment of the awards features several individuals, technologies, and projects encompassing water reuse, community engagement, nutrient removal, utility optimization, and more. 

Highlights include:

  • Industrial Water Quality Achievement Award - Bush Beans Process Water Reclamation Facility - (Bush Brothers & Company, Brown and Caldwell/Haskell Company joint venture)
  • Project Excellence Award - Water Renewal Utility Plan - (City of Boise, Brown and Caldwell)
  • Project Excellence Award - Seneca Water Resource Recovery Facility - (WSSC Water, Brown and Caldwell)

The Industrial Water Quality Achievement Award is presented to a corporation and, if applicable, to its engineering firm that best demonstrates significant, lasting, and measurable excellence in water quality improvement or in the prevention of water quality degradation as demonstrated by innovative design and operation of an industrial wastewater, pretreatment or source prevention program.


Awarded in this category is Bush Brothers & Company’s (Bush’s® Best Baked Beans) new Process Water Reclamation Facility (PWRF) located in the Great Smoky Mountains, approximately 40 miles from Knoxville, Tennessee. Designed and built by a joint venture of Brown and Caldwell and Haskell Company, the 2.1 million gallons per day (mgd) facility treats production process water to a high effluent quality to irrigate more than 900 acres of Bush Brothers & Company-owned agriculture. Additionally, some of the treated water is reused in non-food-contact applications to reduce the demand for source water.

The innovative PWRF was heralded for its water recycling capabilities and cost-effective, aesthetically pleasing solution to complement the surrounding landscape. The socially responsible project was delivered significantly under budget.

WEF’s Project Excellence Award pays tribute to excellence and innovation in the execution of projects and programs in the water sector.


The City of Boise’s Water Renewal Utility Plan (Utility Plan) was recognized for its community-centric approach. The Utility Plan is the culmination of integrating thousands of pieces of public input, technical evaluations, and comprehensive analyses of the regulatory, affordability, and environmental implications for the future of how Boise collects, cleans, and beneficially reuses over 10 billion gallons of water every year.

Led by Boise’s Water Renewal Services and Brown and Caldwell, the Utility Plan includes strategies to address climate change concerns and regulatory requirements while meeting the water renewal demands of a community expected to grow by 20 percent over the next 20 years.

Furthermore, the plan prioritizes capital investment strategies for replacing Boise’s aging water renewal infrastructure and mechanisms to address future capacity needs with community affordability in mind.

Nutrient removal optimizations at the Seneca Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) in Maryland were recognized by WEF for demonstrating energy and chemical cost savings projected to be $575,000/year, resulting in decreased carbon footprint and reduced financial burden to customers.

The demonstration project, spearheaded by WSSC Water and Brown and Caldwell, relied on advanced aeration control and other operational changes to use the inherent carbon in the influent wastewater more efficiently to continue to meet stringent nutrient limits and help protect the Chesapeake Bay.

The successful demonstration of the new optimization strategies has led to plans to expand these cost-saving strategies at the six WRRFs owned by WSSC Water, which can be instrumental in maintaining affordable and sustainable service.

“Our warmest congratulations go to Bush Brothers & Company, the City of Boise, and WSSC Water for recognition and celebration of their visionary leadership, innovation, and environmental stewardship,” said Brown and Caldwell Chief Technical Officer Wendy Broley. “We appreciate the partnership and collaboration in advancing leading-edge projects that make a difference within the industry and for the communities they serve.”

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