Representing an emerging trend in renewable energy, the Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Facility, located in Pierce County, Wash., will help transform waste into energy. A technology-savvy contractor is helping to lead the expansion project, which shows innovative companies using leading-edge technology remain at the forefront of growth in construction.

Not only is Mortenson Construction,, Elk Grove Village, Ill., considered to be a leader in renewable energy and water/wastewater construction, but the contractor is also considered among the most technology savvy. The company has been honored for its technological ingenuity on multiple occasions.

In fact, Mortenson won a 2006 Constructech Vision Award for its use of BIM (building information modeling). The company was honored for the way in which it models existing site conditions in its CAD (computer-aided design) application and imports the model into a separate 3D design review application to run clash detection tests and avoid conflicts. The model helped project managers gain a graphic view of various utilities that may require relocation without the use of exploratory holes.

Today this practice is rather common, but back when Mortenson was honored this process was not widely embraced.

In regard to this particular project, which will work to increase the facility’s production of digested methane gas, the expansion will add two anaerobic digesters (for a total of five) and new digester gas-fueled steam boilers to heat the plant. This will substantially reduce the reliance of the facility on external energy sources.

“We strongly believe that the transformation of waste into energy is a huge opportunity that will transform the renewable energy market and have a positive impact on communities,” says Jim Yowan, vice president, Mortenson Construction. “Wastewater is a continuous source of energy that will only increase over time. Many of the technologies which are needed to transform waste to energy exist today. Now is the time to tap into this underutilized resource.”