Guarantee Electrical Company (Guarantee) provided electrical construction on a new, advanced water treatment plant at Ameren Missouri’s Labadie and Rush Island generation facilities. Guarantee was tasked to install the full complement of electrical distribution equipment, wiring and control systems serving the wastewater treatment process. The assignment encompassed installation of the plant’s owner supplied equipment (motor control centers [MCC], transformers and control panels, etc.) as well as wiring the plant’s distributed control systems (DCS), and heat trace sensors. In all, Guarantee installed and wired some twenty control panels serving the plant’s pumps and heat trace controls associated with the plant’s revolutionary deionizing water treatment equipment, whose design provides for complete separation of chemicals (many highly toxic) associated with the ash waste produced in coal-fired power generation.
One of the unique features of Ameren’s new wastewater treatment process involves temperature-controlled ionic exchange equipment in combination with hydrodynamic Continuous Deflective Separation (CDS) technology to demineralize wastewater, which serves to remove chemicals and suspended solids, including hydrocarbons and other toxic substances present in water-suspended coal ash. As such, the project makes substantial use of the medium and high voltage power generated at Ameren’s facility, which called for Guarantee’s substantial experience with wastewater treatment projects, especially those whose specifications involve complex industrial power distribution.
The innovative process design, the density of the equipment, and circuits deployed particularly in the treatment building created a number of opportunities to value engineer materials and fixtures deployed, and which over the duration of the project resulted in considerable savings. Among the strategies exercised, were rigorous and continuous evaluation of materials and suppliers. This included Guarantee’s ability to use copper futures to offset costs associated with the quantities of copper wire used over the course of the 20-plus month project.
Among the challenges of the project were the uncertainties created by the innovative nature of the technology involved that drove the owner’s need to carefully reengineer and adapt the design over the course of the project. Delays related to these challenges, however, did not affect the overall schedule that remained both aggressive and demanding. All of which contributed to the complexity of the assignment, plus degrees of difficulty associated with extreme summer temperatures and a surprising amount of snow over the winter. Together, these circumstances and conditions created the need for considerable interdisciplinary coordination between Guarantee, the general contractor and the owner’s design team.
The close coordination described above, coupled with an aggressive program of value-engineering affected materials and labor costs favorably, at or slightly below the original estimate. Given the tight schedule, the plant was completed on schedule well within budget, without any recordable safety incidents. The feedback from the Ameren team has been highly favorable, leading to substantial additional project work at both sites.