Andrews abandoned contact clarifier

Greener Water Alternatives in the Town of Andrews

Celebrating Pollution Prevention Week


As McGill celebrates Pollution Prevention Week, we spotlight a special project from our past that displays how our firm worked with a local community to create a greener future. McGill worked in collaboration with the Town of Andrews to create solutions for the Town’s water system and generate new alternatives and upgrades to better the community.

The Challenge – Compromised Watershed

Lagoon full of alum sludge
Lagoon full of alum sludge

The Town of Andrews had been experiencing partial dam failure for an alum sludge lagoon, due to tree overgrowth and heavy storms. The dam was near total failure, which would have released an exorbitant volume of sludge into the watershed from the stream. The dam failure had created minor pollution issues that could have resulted in a much larger issue for the area. McGill stepped in to aid the Town by developing sustainable remedies.


The Solution – Diversion Design

Partial breach of lagoon dam
Partial breach of lagoon dam

In order to produce a valuable solution, we analyzed all facets of the project and presented our recommendations. Our alternative incorporated an innovative design that converted an abandoned clarifier basin from the previous water treatment plant into a sludge holding tank. This design diverted backwash water and other solids from the new water treatment plant into the newly converted sludge holding tank, which was then allowed to accumulate in this location and be pumped out, as needed. The project also restored the original stream that had been impounded to create the sludge lagoon.


Project Results – Positive, Long-Term Impacts

Lagoon cleaned out and old stream bed being restored
Lagoon cleaned out and old streambed being restored

“This project was extremely satisfying in that it solved a problem that, if left unchecked, could have had serious impacts to water quality and, at the same time, repurposed a part of the abandoned and inefficient water treatment plant to function as part of the newly constructed water treatment plant that McGill designed,” noted Mike Dowd, PE, Water / Wastewater Practice Area Lead at McGill.


Helping Your Community

McGill’s comprehensive team strives to partner with our neighboring communities, like the Town of Andrews, to establish unique and innovative solutions that address real needs. We recognize the necessity to pursue environmentally friendly alternatives and promote sustainability for the future. If you have a project that needs a sustainable alternative, please contact us at


Water Treatment Plant Engineering

Read more about more about how our water engineering team has transformed a water treatment plant for the City of Lenoir.

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