• Butte-Silver Bow Wastewater Treatment Plant Phase 2 MBR Upgrades

Butte-Silver Bow Wastewater Treatment Plant Phase 2 MBR Upgrades

American Council of Engineering Companies Award
2018 Engineering Excellence Award Winner

The Butte-Silver Bow Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment plan in Montana and the upper Rocky Mountains area. As a result of the project, the treated effluent has greatly reduced nutrient and heavy metals concentrations compared to prior levels. The effluent is now a resource to the Butte community that can be used to safely irrigate green spaces in the future.

Construction of the facilities was challenged by the presence of heavy metals and organic compounds in the groundwater under the site. The construction approach and technology used minimized dewatering duration and volume, which achieved the necessary support of the Montana DEQ and EPA.

More than typical projects, implementation required the consistent cooperative efforts of many regulatory agencies and parties, including Montana DEQ, Montana DNRC, US EPA, Atlantic Richfield. Over a 10-year period it took the perseverance of BSB staff, with the assistance of consultants such as Morrison-Maierle and Water & Environmental Technologies to move the project through to construction. Finally, it took the expertise of Swank Enterprises to build the facility.

Jason Mercer

Jason Mercer, PE
Market Group Leader


Butte, Montana


City Of Butte, Montana


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Butte-Silver Bow Wastewater Treatment Plant Phase 2 MBR Upgrades Diagram
This diagram shows all of the facilities that were either upgraded or newly constructed during this project.

The Wastewater Treatment Plant Phase 2 Upgrades Project will result in significant improvement in Silver Bow Creek Water quality and opportunities for Butte-Silver Bow to reclaim treated effluent for irrigation or industrial water purposes. At the heart of the Phase 2 Upgrade Project are new chemical, biological and physical treatment processes as part of new Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) technology. As a result of this project, greatly reduced levels of nutrients and heavy metals now flow into nearby Silver Bow Creek.

The project also renews aging facilities and equipment, some over 40 years old, and results in substantial improvements in energy efficiency at the facility.
Additional access, security, and public interface improvements are incorporated into the project. The facility will allow for 20 years of planned residential and industrial growth within the Butte community.