Woodard & Curran Wins 2018 ACEC/MO’s Engineering Excellence Award

Published: 2/15/2018

Woodard & Curran received a 2018 Engineering Excellence Award from the Missouri chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies for the firm’s work helping the Doe Run Company develop innovative mine water treatment systems. Doe Run operates several metals mines and mills in Missouri, producing lead, copper and zinc. The mines historically used sedimentation ponds to remove solids and heavy metals in the water prior to discharging to streams and rivers, but they had become insufficient to meet stringent new discharge limits imposed on cadmium, copper, lead, zinc, and toxicity.  

Woodard & Curran developed a new, cost-effective approach to treat the mine effluent by being the first project to use the Comag® process to remove heavy metals from mine water. The firm chose this approach because it offers reliable treatment results in widely varying concentrations of heavy metals and flows, can be easily operated with minimal on-site staff and can be used where space is limited. 

Beyond the technical merits of the projects, the firm was also recognized for the design-build approach with Alberici Constructors. Despite the remote location and rugged terrains of the mines, the close collaboration between all members of the project team and careful planning to allowed them to deliver successful projects in less than 12 months.  The engineers and constructors worked closely to expedite the design and construction schedule and worked with Doe Run to identify opportunities to reduce costs.

Together, the project team successfully built five mine water treatment facilities that are having a significant positive impact on the environment around the mines.  The processes remove over 95 percent of the incoming cadmium, lead and zinc, and discharge a clear effluent that passes whole effluent toxicity tests. This helped Doe Run strengthen its environmental stewardship and operational flexibility, improve its ability to meet permit limits, and protected approximately 800 jobs at the mines. 
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