The Future of Wastewater Treatment Series: Fresno, CA

This article is part of our feature on the future of wastewater in the U.S.’s fastest growing metro areas. We’re using the Transcend Design Generator to automatically build, expand, or upgrade regional wastewater treatment systems in each of these regions.

When people think about cities in California they often think about ‘famous’ cities like L.A., the Bay Area, and San Diego. These are the ones where tourists visit, celebrities frequent, and populations have grown tremendously over the last few decades.

Some may find it interesting that Fresno, CA – a city not quite as famous as the others – made its mark on the list of the Top 100 fastest growing counties, with Fresno county arriving in 70th place… coincidentally, the exact estimated future MGD of wastewater (70 MGD) the Fresno metro area will need to handle with this increased growth.

We decided to let our software, the Transcend Design Generator (TDG), automatically design a new 20MGD greenfield plant for the region. Why build a new, smaller plant as opposed to upgrading or expanding old ones?

According to the Fresno government site, the city can currently handle 60 MGD of wastewater. This is treated with one large and two smaller plants today. The new plant with a designed 20MGD of capacity leaves a little buffer room for long-term future growth, provides an opportunity to renovate the older smaller plants over time, and more than accommodates the suspected population increase in the near future.

The two smaller plants are well within the city limits – creating a significant constraint on land available to expand either one. The larger plant is in the southwestern part of the city, while the smaller, older plants are in the northeastern portion. Because this new plant will be considerably larger than the two smaller, and likely a good backup for the existing larger plant, we’ve decided to have the tool design the new plant nearby the two smaller ones in the northeastern portion of the region.

Another consideration TDG designed for is Carbon footprint. We wanted TDG to automatically design a plant that is small, compact, and has a very small embedded carbon footprint compared to other plants. For this reason, we chose an SBR plant with no primary treatment, and no equalization, just for a steady 20 MGD flow. To reduce the chemicals used, we added Biological phosphorus removal into to the mix.

If you’d like to see the full design package for this treatment plant, send us a note at or contact us here and a member of our team will share it with you!

If you enjoyed this piece you may also want to read about the future of wastewater in Las Vegas!



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