Senior design team Ram Wastewater Solutions earns first place in student design competition

In addition to earning first place for civil and environmental engineering at E-Days, CSU’s engineering senior design showcase, senior design team Ram Wastewater Solutions won the annual Rocky Mountain Student Design Competition, sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association and Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works Association. The team – Kira Cunniff, Garret Glaspy, Emily Godi, Kamryn Steel, Swee Tee and Robby Vaccaro – beat out teams from the Colorado School of Mines and University of Colorado Boulder to take home the top prize. The Rocky Mountain region includes Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

In their winning entry, Ram Wastewater Solutions developed a design for an energy efficiency upgrade at the Laramie Wastewater Treatment Plant to reduce monthly energy consumption by a minimum of 20%. They developed three design alternatives to investigate multiple ways in which energy could be conserved at the plant and evaluated them based on capital cost, practicality of implementation and total energy savings.

Their final design incorporates equipment upgrades and process updates by replacing two of the blowers feeding air to the aerobic digester tanks, installing two new top-entry mechanical mixers in the digester tanks, and replacing the coarse-bubble diffusers with fine-bubble diffusers. These changes significantly reduce aeration time while maintaining digester efficiency to reduce energy consumption at the plant up to a projected 27%.

“I’ve had to learn much more than just how to develop an energy-saving design for Laramie,” said Emily Godi, Ram Wastewater Solutions project manager. “More than anything, I’ve realized that engineering is about being able to work as a team. RWS encountered so many challenges along the way, but once we began playing to each other’s skills, we were able to fully realize our potential.”

The team now advances to WEFTEC, the Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference, in October in New Orleans, where they will present their design in the national competition. They also will present their work in September at the Rocky Mountain Water Conference in Keystone.

Rocky Mountain Student Design Competition
The Ram Wastewater Solutions senior design team won the RMWEA Student Design Competition April 29. From left to right: Robby Vaccaro, Kamryn Steel, Emily Godi, Garret Glaspy, Kira Cunniff and Swee Tee.