Branson Tri-Lakes Biosolids Drying Facility

Branson, Missouri is the site for the new Tri-Lakes biosolids drying facility. The facility is a partnership between communities in Southwest Missouri including: Taney County, Branson, Forsyth, Hollister, Kimberling city, Reeds Spring, and Rockaway Beach. They have come together to form the Tri-States Biosolids Coalition.

The New facility is an extension to the Cooper Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility. The project was funded by a $3 million matching grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Taney County Regional Sewer District tax.

The facility is expected to produce about 1,100 tons of class A biosolids each year. The dried material has a lower weight than a wet sludge. The biosolids leaving the Tri-Lakes facility requires a reduced amount of labor and energy to transport throughout the region.

The project was first discussed when Larry VanGilder suggested that population growth was going to create a long list of challenges for land applying biosolids in Souther Missouri. Population growth would require municipalities to find more land to apply biosolids. The need for more land would increase hauling distances resulting in increased costs. Trucks traveling long distance routes would have an impact on communities that are in the trucking path.

The geology of the region and the increasing present and future regulations would also limit the land suitable for application. The municipalities involved wanted to find a solution to these challenges while maintaining a positive public relationship in their communities.

A study commissioned in 2007 identified the regional solution to be constructing a new facility in Branson at the construction cost of $9.5 million. To meet the needs of all communities involved the group had to address issues related to funding and organizing the operations while meeting regulatory requirements.

It was a priority for the communities involved in the project to not take on debt in order to construct the facilities. After working with political leaders and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) $6 million became available for the project. This was a combination of a $3 million Nonpoint Source and Green Infrastructure Demonstration Grant to Taney County through MDNR and a match of $3 million from the Taney County Sewer Sales Tax.

The Tri-Lakes Biosolids Coalition was formed through an intergovernmental agreement. Eventually, the group hopes to form a Joint Municipal Utility Commission that will accept the ownership and operational responsibility for the biosolids facilities.

The regional biosolids facilities host three centrifuges and one indirect dryer. The centrifuges are located at the two Branson WWTPs and the Hollister WWTP and dewater the biosolids from 3 to 22 percent. The dryer is located at the Branson Cooper Creek WWTP and reduces water content until the biosolids are 90 percent solids.

To reduce initial construction costs, the centrifuges were installed in already existing buildings at the Compton Drive and Hollister WWTPs. The truck loading building at Cooper Creek WWTP was converted and expanded to house all of the facilities required at that location.

While selecting the major equipment packages for the project site visits were made to operating facilities and equipment manufacturers demonstrated their equipment onsite. Two sets of procurement documents were developed, one for dryer, storage and bins, and other accessories and one for the three centrifuges and their accessories. This process kept coalition members informed on how to get the best value for the equipment they selected and gave them foresight into project costs prior to bidding the construction.

The facility recently hosted an open houses in celebration. We look forward to following more good news about this innovative project.