Wurtsmith Engineering Wetland Treatment System

A yellow construction earth mover.

Project overview

An Engineered Wetland Treatment System (EWTS) was constructed by the Air Force as a component of a long-term green and sustainable groundwater remediation system at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan.  Historic waste disposal practices associated with two former military landfills resulted in the creation of a mixed chemical constituent groundwater plume that migrates off Air Force property, impacts private landowners, and discharges to a nearby recreational surface water body.  As part of the overall site remedy and to prevent migration to the neighboring lake community, the Air Force implemented a 400 gallon per minute (GPM) barrier groundwater pump and treat system that hydraulically controls the groundwater plume on-site and treats recovered groundwater in a sustainable on-site EWTS.  Primary chemical constituents in the recovered groundwater which are treated in the EWTS include Trichloroethylene (TCE), Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylenes (BETX), Total Organic Compound (TOC), iron, manganese, ammonia, and phosphorous.  The EWTS utilizes a series of natural and passive processes to treat recovered groundwater via cascade aeration, sedimentation pond precipitation of metals, and both Free Water Surface (FWS) and Submerged Surface Flow (SSF) wetlands for biological treatment.  Treated groundwater is infiltrated back into the subsurface via a series of groundwater infiltration trenches. As part of the EWTS installation, BB&E was responsible for preparation of design documents, work plans, and the requisite discharge permits; project quality control support; regulatory assistance; community relations support; and startup assistance.