Fairhope Water Resource Recovery Facility

The City of Fairhope’s water department dates back to 1916 and services an estimated 40,000 residents in Baldwin County, Alabama. The sewer collection system has 65 lift stations and over 130 miles of pipe that delivers collected wastewater to the City’s 4.0 million gallon (MG) Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) per day. In the 1990s, the original Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) was renovated but the operations staff noticed an increase in waste loadings beyond the original design parameters thereby reducing the facility’s treatment capacity. With the continued growth that the City was experiencing, the facility was in need of modifications and renovations. The City recognized that modifications would need to address current conditions but also provided an opportunity to go a step further to continue their commitment to protecting and even improving the environment.

The City requested Volkert to design a project that would not only address current needs but would also address nutrient removal and enhance effluent water quality through filtration. Volkert provided design and construction engineering services to upgrade the facility in a way that would allow for treated effluent to be discharged into nearby Mobile Bay which would provide environmental enhancements for the quality of life in Baldwin County. 

Volkert designed upgrades and oversaw construction to all aspects for the treatment facility including the screening system removal for solids, aeration system to foster nutrient removal, clarification and ultraviolet disinfection to removal suspended particles and digestive system to improve solids operations. The existing headworks and clarifiers both received all new equipment. The existing aeration basin was modified and a new VertiCel reactor was constructed to assist the facility with reducing nutrients while accommodate the increase to biological loadings the facility had experienced. The existing digester structure was rehabilitated and new equipment installed to provide improved digestion at the facility and enhance the current Class A Biosolids contract. All the renovations were incorporated into the facility’s existing SCADA system which was also upgraded. The improvements were necessary to regain lost treatment capacity due to the increased strength of the wastewater over the last several years. The filtration process will also produce an effluent that will leave the facility much cleaner than regulatory requirements in order to have the highest water quality in our streams, which empty into Mobile Bay, for all to enjoy. 

At the completion of the project, the facility was renamed to the Fairhope Water Resource Recovery Facility. The facility improvements and upgrades amplify the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) position that the improved Fairhope facility is not a waste disposal facility but a water resource recovery facility that produces clean water, recover nutrients and reduces energy consumption.
The project received the 2017 National Recognition Award by American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and the 2016 Partners for Environmental Progress Environmental Stewardship Award.


Fairhope, Alabama


City of Fairhope