American Council of Engineering Companies/Maryland


The American Council of Engineering Companies/Maryland’s (ACEC/MD) annual Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) competition recognizes engineering firms for projects that demonstrate a high degree of innovation, achievement, and value. In a two-step process, firms can submit their outstanding projects for consideration, culminating in our Annual Awards Banquet being held in association with Engineers Week. See below for more information:


2022 Grand Award

Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant Biosolids Addition

Client | Howard County
Consultant | HDR
Location | Savage, MD

Eight years in the making, the $92 million Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant Biosolids Improvement Project is the largest water/wastewater construction project in Howard County and is the first Envision-verified project. The state-of-the-art biosolids addition turns undigested primary sludge and waste activated sludge into Class A biosolids. The Biosolids Improvement Project transitioned the facility’s biosolids production from lime stabilization to anaerobic digestion. The project also conforms to Maryland’s increasingly stringent waste load allocations, treats centrate, enhances odor control facilities, and upgrades process and electrical equipment. As the first wastewater treatment facility in the United States to use the AirPrex phosphorus precipitation system and one of the country’s first installations of the ANITA Mox deammonification system to reduce nitrogen, the project provides a benchmark for sustainability and treatment. The two systems remove 85% of soluble phosphorus, 75% of total nitrogen and 85% of ammonia from the plant’s effluent. This reduces energy required to remove nutrients and reduces the likelihood of mainstream process upsets. Expecting 50% growth in dry sludge annually by 2024, the project team identified new destinations for the Class A biosolids.

Upon project completion, the quantity of trucks needed to haul biosolids will decrease from seven trucks per day to just one truck per day. The reduction will lower operating costs by $2 million annually, providing a significant economic benefit to Howard County taxpayers, and decrease carbon emissions and strain on local roads. The upgrades provide user-friendly, more accessible, long-term monitoring and maintenance available via mobile tablets. Without the previous lime biosolids, which produced a large amount of dust, the facility reduces risk and exposure to employees. The project team overcame significant challenges to add and modify existing structures in the space-confined facility footprint while maintaining plant operations throughout construction. Throughout the eight years from planning to completion, the plant operated not just through construction, but construction during a global pandemic, while meeting discharge permit requirements. The project team reimagined the facility during the design phase. What was once envisioned as a sprawling biosolids campus was re-engineered to fit within the existing biosolids processes on a geometrically and space-limited site. This provided the most efficient use of space but required difficult construction in the same locations needed to process the solids. The team also developed temporary solutions to maintain operations throughout construction.

Little Patuxent was awarded a Silver rating from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. The team implemented several sustainability-focused items, including reef balls cast from excess concrete that restore the Atlantic Ocean’s reefs, repurposing 92% of excavated material on site, comingling dumpsters to improve recyclability, and reusing digester methane to fuel the biosolids dryer. The project also created more than 1,350 jobs across multiple sectors.

Other Winners

Brighton Dam Rehabilitation
Client | Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission

Rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge
Client | U.S. Government, National Park Service, GWMP

Century Engineering, LLC, a Kleinfelder Company & SmartSWM™
Mother Mary Lange Catholic School Stormwater Management 
Client | Archdiocese of Baltimore

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc., PBC
Howard County Compost Facility at Alpha Ridge Landfill
Client | Howard County Department of Public Works

Gannett Fleming, Inc.
Fullerton Reservoirs
Client | Baltimore County Department of Public Works

Gipe Associates, Inc.
Semans Griswold Environmental Hall at Washington College
Client | Washington College

Hardesty & Hanover, LLC
Emergency Reconstruction of the Moravia Road Ramp to I-95 Southbound
Client | Maryland Transportation Authority

Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson (JMT), Inc.
Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant Headworks Improvements
Client | City of Baltimore Department of Public Works

Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson (JMT), Inc.
MDOT SHA 211 E. Madison Street HVAC Renovation
Client | Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration

Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson (JMT), Inc.
New Cut Road Slope Stabilization
Client | Howard County Department of Public Works

Kibart, Inc.
Lawyers Mall
Client | Department of General Services

McCormick Taylor, Inc.
MD 30 Business (Main St.) Community Safety & Enhancement Project
Client | Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration

Stantec Consulting Services Inc.
Replacement of Edmondson Ave. Bridge over Gwynn Falls & CSX Transportation
Client | Baltimore City Department of Transportation

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