Click the link to watch a video of Suzie Carpenter, Black & Veatch design manager, explaining how recycling is a big part of KC Water’s new biosolids project.

The former KC Water Blue River solids processing building and incinerator stack have been demolished to make room for a new, state-of-the-art solids building that will utilize the modernized Thermal Hydrolysis Process (THP). For the first several months, Spirtas, a member of the Goodwin Brothers team, carefully deconstructed the four-story, 21,000 square-foot building and sent 98 percent of the former building to be recycled.

As of December 31, 2021, construction crews set aside 1,200 tons of brick, 90 tons of concrete, and 40 tons of metal from the old building and stack. Rebar removed from concrete went to a metal recycling plant. The remaining concrete and bricks went to a separate facility to be made into aggregate that will be used to make new concrete. A total of 1,600 tons of materials from the solids building will be given a new life. Only 2 percent of the material was unusable and taken to a landfill. 

Suzie Carpenter of Black & Veatch is the project’s design manager, leading a team of engineers in designing, specifying equipment and ensuring the workability of finished components. Carpenter said, “While the process requires extra effort, it is not unusual to recycle materials on a project such as this. However, what is unusual is the meticulous tracking of how much material is being recycled and where it is going.” 

Tracking recycling efforts is one requirement of obtaining a Silver rating through the Envision process, a rating KC Water is striving for with this project.

Envision is a checklist of criteria used to measure the sustainability of an infrastructure project throughout design and construction. Recycling is just one of 60 criteria measured when determining a project’s rating. The Silver rating is the third highest rating a project can attain for behind Platinum and Gold.

Recycling by the Numbers

    • 98% of building recycled

    • 1,600 tons of materials weighs approximately the same as 16 blue whales or 30 African elephants

    • 1,200 tons of bricks = a herd of 1,200 American bison

    • 90 tons of concrete = three times the Great Pyramid in Egypt

    • 40 tons of metal = weighs approximately the same as two KC Fire Department pumper trucks