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Designing a Flexible, Redundant Power Solution for a Wastewater Treatment Plant

Brunswick County is one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina. When significant residential and commercial growth was pushing its Northeast Brunswick Regional Water Reclamation Facility close to capacity, Brunswick County Public Utilities undertook a project to expand and improve the plant. The new facility, to be commissioned by the fall of 2021, will increase capacity by 2.5 million gallons daily and efficiently support the future growth.

Collaboration Creates a “Best Fit” Power Generation Solution

Staying compliant with state-mandated requirements and effluent standards, improving processing efficiency and ensuring reliable power generation were important goals for the Northeast Brunswick Regional Water Reclamation Facility expansion project.

Raleigh-based engineering and surveying firm McKim & Creed, Inc., the consulting engineer for Brunswick County, collaborated with Curtis Power Solutions to design the power generation solution. After brainstorming, sharing design schematics and assessing available power generation equipment, the team designed a flexible solution that fit the client’s desired outcome – and surpassed expectations.

At the core of this solution is an mtu 1750-kW generator with custom enclosure, fuel tank, temporary generator and docking station. Another element that provides tremendous flexibility and functionality is a switchgear design that features a generator bypass system with a connection box.


Additionally, Ethernet-based switchgear and controls enable operators to turn breakers on and off remotely from the main control room, reducing injuries and personnel hazards in the case of an arc flash incident. Breaker sections and controls were installed so if the permanent generator fails, the owner can pull in a trailer-mounted generator and connect it quickly via a connection box adjacent to the generator.

Currently, redundant power sources are not required for those wastewater treatment plants that include permanent back-up power generation. However, with lessons learned from 9/11 along with increasing threats of hurricanes and severe storms in this coastal county, the team recommended a little more redundancy to prevent a prolonged outage in the event of a major hurricane.

Finally, the roll-up connection box provides a means for conducting load bank testing.

Building Solutions, Building Relationships

Every project has its own challenges. It’s how the team responds that determines the success of each solution.

Jason Gillentine, Electrical and Instrumentation Group Manager at the Raleigh office of McKim & Creed, described his experience working with Curtis Power Solutions: “One word – relationships. As a consultant dealing with a public project, the relationship is vital to me. When you are in a pinch with scheduling or not able to wrap your head around a particular application or solution, being able to get a fast response with good information is of utmost importance. I was able to call them on my cell phone to look at the problem together and hear what they were thinking.”

Curtis Power Solutions has tremendous experience with power generation for wastewater treatment facilities. For this project, defective spring vibration isolators were quickly replaced and installed in a timely manner. Integrating the generator with a closed-transition transfer switchgear was resolved by working closely with the switchgear factory engineers to debug the logic and by verifying the system operation through testing.

Wesley Wolfe, Project Manager, Power Generation for Curtis Power Solution, South Region, said, “We were able to work through adversity that complex projects introduce and adjust on the fly to implement a sound solution.”

“It was a big project and power generation was a large component,” added Gillentine. “Thanks to our relationship with Curtis, we were able to make it all work.”

mtu 1750 kW generator provided by Curtis Power Solutions for NE Brunswick (NC) Regional Water Reclamation Facility.

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