Located at the foot of the Cascades Mountains, the Yakama Indian Reservation, population 32,000, covers over 2,100 square miles, roughly 1/3 of Yakima County. Yakima County is home to national forests, and wildlife refuges and is an important agricultural, viticultural and salmon fishing area. The Yakima, Columbia and Naches Rivers all run through it. Water and air quality are vital to this prospering metro area.
The Yakama Nation had many goals for new waste water treatment facility to be located on the 76-acre Legends Casino tract. Built in 1998, Legends Casino is a unique non-alcohol establishment with a vision to add a 5-story hotel and convention center adjacent the gaming facility. The Yakama Nation committed themselves and their waste water plant to a “Zero Discharge” policy so that their existence did not adversely affect local rivers, streams, or drinking water for residences outside the city limits. They wanted to protect local feelands from any negative impact, thus thwarting the possibility of federal oversight on the tribal campus. They wanted to reserve all bio-solids, converted to Class A fertilizer, to be spread onsite, thus reducing costs of its transport and documentation to and from the neighboring city of Toppenish. If this wasn’t a tall enough order, the waste water facility at Legends would have to occupy a very small footprint with a small hopper and no open lagoons and attractive Native American architecture because of its proximity to the casin o and hotel complex. As an critical adjunct to the new waste water facility, they wanted an effective bio-solids dryer from a service-oriented company that would afford them a good return on their investment in years to come. The Therma-Flite IC Series Dryer was chosen and has surpassed expectation since it’s installation in 2008.
The Yakama Nation’s new waste water plant serves the casino, the soon-to-be built hotel and convention center, plus the adj cent complexes of tribal headquarters, the health center, a 100-stall RV park, the 85-unit elder housing, a correctional facility, and the forest fire department. The Legends plant has an expandable capacity of up to 360,000 gallons maximum and is currently running at about 1/4 capacity. The old Tribal plant handled bio-solids disposal prior to the 2008 construction of the Legends facility and had piped sludge to the city of Toppenish to be dried and distributed. As it became clear that the costs associated this bio-solids would be rising soon and that those costs would be passed along to Legends in short order, the project for the new “Zero Discharge” waste water plant was conceived. Civil Engineer, Scott Winger of Telegraph Engineering consulted on the project and created a vision for its design before it went to bid. A bio-solids drying system was to be included in the proposal which two companies bid on. Therma-Flite, though slightly more expensive, was ultimately selected following testing. The first system tested was a batch dryer but the continuous-feed Holo-Scru system from Therma-Flite proved more efficient.
In addition, the Therma-Flite system was cleaner running, with less odor and greater uniformity of end product. Legends Casino Facilities Director, Ray Spencer recalls that a tour of the Therma-Flite’s Benicia manufacturing facility was a deciding factor. “We felt that they had all the resources to support us with service and scheduled maintenance,” recalls Spencer. “They were attentive to our needs. American-made quality parts, quickly accessed from inventory, adequate staff to field our questions and so on.”
Bio-Scru’s fully automated, continuous process, indirectly heated dryer system is very user friendly, requiring a minimum of operator attention. Interestingly, Therma-Flite’s Bio-Scru outperformed itself upon actual installation than it had during pre-testing. “During testing, Spencer had brought in sludge from other facilities which was actually fattier than what would be produced at the new plant,” explains Therma-Flite engineer, Preston Whitney. Parenthetically, the Legends plant employs advanced pre-conditioning techniques--filtration, a membrane bio reactor, EnviroTech equipment to dewater, thicken and age sludge and reduce odors--before the sludge goes to the dryer. They have their own super stringent internal water code and their own certified lab and techs to test effluents for bacteria, etc. With the installation of the IC 1800 Series Dryer in Yakima County, Therma-Flite--a world leader in bulk processing and heat exchange equipment--made its debut into municipal bio-solids processing. Ray Spencer reflects, “Therma-Flite was a good decision for us. 18 months after it became operational, the dryer had lower gas bills than projected, which means that overall, we will have our costs met in 15 years instead of the 17 years we estimated. We are very pleased.” Soon, Legends Casino will break ground for the new hotel/conference center complex with full confidence that the goals of the Yakama Nation will be met and their waste water needs will be well served for years to come.
Yakima County, Yakama Nation and Legends Casino: Yakima Metro Area; Population 230,000; Touted by Men’s Journal as one of the “Best Places to Live in 2010”. Takes water quality seriously. A major producer of apples, peaches, cherries, wine and hops, salmon fishing is also important to the area.
The Challenge: Assume responsibility for waste water treatment and bio-solids drying at Legends Casino facility; protect water and air quality; make a commitment to “Zero Discharge” to maintain tribal sovereignty and control costs going into the future.
The Solution: Incorporate Therma-Flite bio-solid drying equipment into the plan for a new waste water treatment facility at Legends Casino in time for the opening in 2008.