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Penetron Upgrades a Wastewater Treatment Plant and ”Saves the Bay”


The wastewater treatment plant located in Wilderness, VA, was originally built to provide primary and secondary treatment to municipal sewage from the surrounding communities. The treatment plant, however, had become outdated. Also, the increasingly stringent “Save the Bay” environmental discharge standards to reduce pollution and nutrient-loading into the Chesapeake Bay made a tertiary treatment system – to provide an improved level of wastewater treatment – necessary. A tertiary treatment system removes more hazards from the effluent, making it safer for disposal.

Rapidan Service Authority, the plant owners, wanted to lower long-term maintenance costs and eliminate any localized pollution through leakage from the plant. The proposed plant update included a number of new structures:

- Headworks
- Biological nutrient reduction tanks
- Tertiary filter tanks
- Secondary clarifiers (3)
- Sludge digesters (2)
- Flocculation tanks (2)
- Post aeration tanks
- Chlorine contact tanks
- De-chlorination tanks

“With that kind of structural set-up and keeping the overall goals in mind, completely sealing the whole plant from any moisture leakage and contamination was a significant technical aspect of the project,” explains Christopher Chen, Director of THE PENETRON Group. “We saw that our PENETRON ADMIX product, with its proven integral crystalline waterproofing capabilities, would completely seal the plant from any form of leaks and significantly reduce long-term repair and maintenance costs.”

The construction team, led by Mid-Eastern Builders from the Hampton area, began the upgrade to the original system. PENETRON supported the job from mix design development through facility start-up and commissioning. About 7,000 cubic yards of concrete, treated with PENETRON ADMIX, was used in this project.

PENETRON ADMIX was added to the concrete mix at the time of batching. Composed of Portland cement, fine treated silica particles, and active propriety chemicals, the additive causes a catalytic reaction in the concrete when the active chemicals come into contact with water in moist concrete. This reaction generates a non-soluble, lattice-like crystalline formation throughout the multitude of pores, micro-cracks and capillary tracts (about 0.1mm to 0.4mm in width) typically found in conventional concrete.

“PENETRON’s technology blocks water from penetrating, which effectively waterproofs the concrete,” adds Chen. “The crystalline formations gradually dry out the concrete, even when facing high hydrostatic pressure.”

An added advantage for the Wilderness Wastewater Treatment Plant project was the ability of PENETRON ADMIX to withstand hazardous chemicals that aggressively attack the concrete structure typical in all wastewater treatment plants.

“The project was completed without a leak,” concludes Chen. “This confirms the cost benefits of treating concrete with PENETRON ADMIX.”

The PENETRON Group is a leading manufacturer of specialty construction products for concrete waterproofing, concrete repairs and floor preparation systems. The Group operates through a global network, offering support to the design and construction community through its regional offices, representatives and distribution channels.

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