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B&W Pantex manages and operates the Pantex Plant for the U.S. Department of Energys National Nuclear Security Administration

Year Submitted: 2008

Process: Wastewater Treatment

Industry: Government Agency-Includes Military

Wastes Reduced: Energy

Location: Amarillo, Texas 79120-0020 TX

No. of employees: 3,300

Contact: Boyd Deaver

Phone: (806) 477-6644


The wastewater treatment plant at Pantex operates under a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and consists of a three (3) pond system prior to beneficial irrigation use. Pantex has a very good regulatory history for appropriately treating generated wastewater. During the annual Environmental Management System (EMS) Aspects Analysis, of fiscal year 2006 (FY06), it was determined that the two (2) aerators used in the primary treatment pond were costing $39,000 per year to operate (based on FY06 cost of electricity). There was a concern also that the ponds weren't adequately circulated by the existing aerators. The risk analysis also determined that these aerators were at the end of their expected life. Since loss of aeration could cause a potential violation of the TCEQ permit and the challenge for reduction of electricity use was an active project, the replacement of the aerators interested the Pantex Plant Management Team. Not long after this project was identified one of the aerators ceased functioning and would need to be replaced to prevent potential permit violations. Five (5) days prior to installation of the new solar aerators, the remaining original aerator failed.

P2 Application:

Once identified as a significant environmental aspect, the EMS team recommended to B&W Pantex senior management that the solar aerators be funded and fast-tracked for replacement. A proposal provided to the EMS Senior Management Team was the replacement of not only the two (2) aerators in the primary pond, but to add one additional aerator in each of the two (2) remaining ponds. The replacements were to be solar powered, thus conserving natural resources through use of a renewable energy source. Also by replacing the aerators in a timely fashion, compliance would not be at risk. B&W Pantex management not only approved the recommendation but provided the funding to move ahead with the project.The solar-powered aerators were an excellent innovation. Solar Bee Inc. was ultimately contracted and had the new aerators installed and operating before the end of FY07.

  • Total Cost Savings: $1,000,000.00

Details of Reductions

Additional Information :

The Pantex EMS coordinating group, on an annual basis, establishes an Aspects Analysis team from across the plant. The mission of this team is to review the risk of new and previously identified potential impacts to the environment based on the type of active and proposed plant operations. This small 5 or 6 person core group calls upon subject matter experts from plant operations during the consideration of identified potential environmental impacts. The compliance subject matter expert for potable and wastewater resides in the Regulatory Compliance Department, and had previously been concerned with the wastewater treatment plants potential problems. His concern manifested itself to senior management through the EMS Aspects team all the way to installation and use. The EMS intent was met by providing a mechanism for all personnel to have a "say so". Success of this activity has given additional credibility to the plant employees, B&W Pantex's client, the public at large, and regulators when it comes to environmental protection.

Source: Clean Texas

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