Saving Time and Money Thanks to the 2021 Innovation Award Winners

March 24, 2022

Each year, CEC presents a trophy and cash award to individuals or groups of individuals who turn their innovative ideas into measurable value for CEC and our clients. The innovators each receive a trophy and a $5,000 cash prize.

This year, two winning innovations were selected. Congratulations to them both!

Nicholas Kunkel receives his 2021 Innovation Award.

Cash Receipt Automation — Checks

Nicholas Kunkel (Pittsburgh)

The problem? Checks and corresponding invoices had to be manually matched for payment by the CEC accounting department staff. The cause? Deltek (our accounting software) and PNC (our bank) couldn’t “talk to each other.” Nicholas’s idea to automate the input of checks is now saving the staff a whopping 2-4 hours daily. He created a five-step process that allows our outstanding invoices, grouped by project, to be matched with each invoice number from our bank. Deltek and PNC now “talk” daily.

Nicholas extends his thanks to colleagues Angela Cross (Pittsburgh), Matt Kramer (Columbus), and the rest of the accounting department for their help with the project.

Steve Graves is a 2021 Innovation Award winner.

Zoogloea Reduction in Wastewater Treatment Operations

Steve Graves (St. Louis)

The problem? In early 2021, the filtration systems at our client’s Leachate Pretreatment Plant (LPTP) began having performance issues, causing a backup of liquid in the treatment tanks and requiring the off-site hauling of 30 to 40 tank trucks per day to the local publicly owned treatment works (POTW) at a cost of $30,000 to $40,000 per day. The cause? A slime was being formed by a bacteria family called Zoogloea. The slime was coating the inside of the filtration system.

A team comprised of operations, engineering, and technical resources from the landfill, the pretreatment plant, and CEC determined the source of the slime. A temporary pumping system was implemented and, almost immediately, the number of truckloads hauled went from an average of 34 truckloads per day to 18 truckloads per day. In about four weeks, the client could stop hauling altogether. Based on the performance of the temporary system, CEC designed a permanent pumping system to replace the temporary system.

By quickly identifying the location where the slime was being generated and implementing the temporary pumping system, costs to the client were minimized, and the installation of the permanent system will provide greater operational flexibility to manage changing leachate quality conditions.

This is the permanent pumping system designed by CEC.



About the Author

CEC Staff

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC) provides comprehensive market-oriented consulting services to advance client strategic business objectives. CEC is recognized for delivering innovative design solutions and integrated expertise in air quality, civil engineering, ecological sciences, environmental engineering and sciences, manufacturing infrastructure services, survey/geospatial, waste management, and water resources.

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