Quest is an international transfer program which connects Arcadians from all over the world. Quest is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation. Every week we are highlighting one of the stories our employees who went on an exchange. In this blogpost we cover the Quest story of Anthonie Hogendoorn who traveled from Dordrecht in the Netherlands to New York City.
An introduction into wastewater treatment
Dutch Arcadian Anthonie Hogendoorn got the opportunity to travel to New York to discuss water innovation and wastewater treatment with the US office. Wastewater treatment focuses on removing contaminants from either household, or in most Arcadis cases, construction sewage. During his Quest, Anthonie and his American colleagues were specifically interested in the wastewater treatment using aerobic granular sludge. Aerobic granulation uses microbial communities which remove carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and other pollutants in a single sludge system. It has proven to be more cost-effective than any other wastewater treatment.
“It was a wonderful experience which left me impressed by the broad range of services Arcadis provides.” – Anthonie Hogendoorn
New York City and Greek dining
On March 9th until the 16th, I went on a Quest to New York City in the Unites States. During this period, I met several clients and our American colleagues and had the experience to exchange knowledge on both Dutch water innovations and the current challenges for wastewater treatment in the US. All in all, it was a wonderful experience which left me impressed by the broad range of services Arcadis provides.
After the first 2 days of getting to know the city, I met Dimitri Katehis on Sunday, the 11th of March, for an introduction and a discussion on the program for Monday the next day. We met up in a Greek restaurant, Dimitri let me enjoy Greek kitchen to the maximum extent.
Granules and great Indian food
The following day, I met with representatives from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) to discuss the potential of aerobic granular sludge (AGS) as a wastewater treatment. After a presentation given by me on design challenges connect to the granules, we had an in-depth discussion with the staff about how this technology could be used for their plants. The North Water Wastewater Treatment Plant (NWTP) has not enough nutrient removal capacity and is suffering from too high suspended solids concentrations in the effluent. Retrofitting part of the aeration tanks to the AGS system would add significant amounts of BNR capacity to the system and enhances clarifier performance due to the lower hydraulic load. After the meeting, Dimitri arranged a wonderful Indian lunch which was appreciated by all office members.
Reject water and a lunch presentation
On Tuesday I joined a meeting with Catharine and Eric Auerbach on the design of a screening system for digested sludge on Wards Island WWTP. This system is part of the Anammox system for reject water treatment and was invented by the Dutch. It was very interesting to see that, though Arcadis is not a technology provider, we are closely involved in the engineering process. During the lunch break I presented the granular sludge design implications to the Arcadis office, which led to some nice discussions.
Plant visitations and a pie buffet
Eric was my guide on Wednesday to the Newton Creek WWTP, the largest treatment plant of NYC. The plant has been renewed around a decade ago with a lot of efforts of the Arcadis team. The aesthetic quality of this plant is absolutely impressive and unique. If you want to know how to make an industrial site visually attractive I recommend you to definitely visit this plant. Though the energy-efficiency level of Newton Creek can still be improved, several projects are going on to improve this (co-digestion of food waste and renewable gas production) and I’m happy to see that in both projects Arcadis is involved. Special thanks to James for the tour on-site!
Thursday was my last day. Maryanne Dioquino took me to Bay Park WWTP. This plant has recently been equipped with flood protection measures (with help of Dutch engineers) since it suffered significantly from Hurricane Sandy. Especially the fact that the plant has no connection to the electricity grid and has to generate all the required electricity themselves, it was very surprising for me to note that all the digester gas is flared, whereas natural gas is used for electricity production. Hopefully Arcadis can play a role in the process to convince the plant owner on more sustainable processes.
After the tour around the plant by Aleks Kopera, I gave my final presentation on the aerobic granules. I was also treated to a wonderful pie brunch.
Later that day, on Thursday night, I left the US and arrived safely in the Netherlands the following morning.
All in all, I had a great time visiting our American office in New York and meeting other Arcadians. This amazing experience would not have been possible without the help of several colleagues who I want to mention explicitly: Dimitri Katehis, Eric Auerbach, Shayla Allen, Catharine, Patrick Parault, Maryanne Dioquino, Aleks Kopera, James, Margaret Oloriz and Jessica Berends. Thank you all for the warm welcome in New York and for sharing part of your work with me.
The international transfer program Quest, which connects Arcadians from all over the world, is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation.