However attractive a location may be for commercial reasons, developers often don’t consider purchasing land without infrastructure services readily available.
In addition to being within close proximity to scenic national parks that attract thousands of visitors a year, a small city in Colorado also houses major industries such as telecommunications, manufacturing, and oil and gas. Despite this growth, a large plot of land lay vacant just outside the city limits.
On the surface, there is no reason this accessible area should be the city’s largest single mass of undeveloped land, yet the problem lies underground. Neither the city nor private developers ever extended sewer service to the area, leading developers to skip it in favor of other sites with more infrastructure and lower upfront costs.
Solving transport, energy, communications, waste management, and potable water supply proved feasible, yet effective wastewater management was the largest obstacle. These concerns escalate when located near scenic surroundings (particularly if they are natural landmarks), as extra precautions must be taken to ensure the local environment encounters limited disruptions and retains its aesthetic appeal.
Conventional membrane-based wastewater treatment alternatives immediately raise two significant concerns. Such facilities typically have a large “psychological footprint” and correspondingly significant physical footprint (for both the facility and a large buffer zone) due to the unappealing look and odour issues. These factors are both economically and socially unattractive.
Organica solutions eliminate these negative attributes, making it possible to monetize land that was previously deemed undevelopable.
Moreover, it was important for the developer to be able to efficiently secure the necessary permits and regulatory approval that allowed for construction of a new surface-discharge wastewater treatment facility.
Organica was able to introduce the developer to an established local wastewater permitting firm and assist with all the necessary documentation needed to complete all phases of environmental permitting, including field studies, permit negotiation and completion in a timely fashion.
In contrast to conventional solutions, an Organica facility offers on-site wastewater treatment, with numerous benefits:
Organica’s physical footprint was over 40x smaller than the traditional wastewater treatment facility contemplated by the developer! This stems primarily from Organica facilities’ odour elimination and aesthetically-pleasing design, facilitating seamless integration into the local surroundings. As a result, typical buffer zones required of traditional facilities are not required. This reduction enabled the developer to capitalize on what was once an unproductive, vacant, and undevelopable plot of land.
With its minimal physical and psychological footprint, the Organica facility could be seamlessly integrated into the community without negatively impacting property values. The ability of the Organica solution to preserve “green space” was especially important in enhancing the public image of the development considering the scenic surroundings.
The conventional option carries additional operational and maintenance costs, mainly due to membrane installation/replacement costs and higher energy demand that would have resulted in 21% higher annual operating costs. With Organica, the developer was able to reduce capital expenditures by 20%, a cost savings of more than US$ 500,000.
Over a 20-year Net Present Value (NPV) analysis, these economics become even more attractive.
By building an Organica facility, the developer attained a proven and efficient wastewater treatment solution that is uniquely reliable with a highly automated control system, delivering seamless and low maintenance operation.
These factors enabled the developer to generate additional revenue from managing operations after the development was completed. Relative to the conventional solution, the payback period on an Organica facility was almost 2 years faster.
Assumptions: OPEX is assumed to increase by 3% per annum, while wastewater discharge rates are assumed to increase by 6% annually. Quantity of wastewater discharged is assumed to increase by 1% per annum. Net Present Value was calculated over a 20-year time frame, based on a discount rate of 10%.
Disclaimer: Financial estimates used are based on a hypothetical proposal for a greenfield project in Colorado, USA. Images are sample displays. This case study is created for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as a quote or offer of any kind. Financial data, OPEX, CAPEX, actual footprint, components (including but not limited to water reuse functionality), etc. may vary per project depending on the actual requirements.
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