Stiles Vortex and Outfall Pipe


Innovative chamber reduces foam in wastewater effluent

Neel-Schaffer provided design services for this innovative project to add a concrete vortex to one of the two existing outfall lines at the MC Stiles Wastewater Treatment Plant on the east bank of the Mississippi River, about a quarter-mile upstream of popular Mud Island.

Neel-Schaffer designed the innovative structure as a subconsultant to design-build contractor Malouf Construction. The $6.5 million project was completed in the fall of 2017 and is now operational.

The project is part of the ongoing consent decree program being managed by Black and Veatch, aimed at improving Memphis wastewater facilities and bringing them into compliance with the Clean Water Act by reducing pollution and odors while allowing for industrial growth.

The large vortex structure, roughly 24 feet in diameter and 60 feet deep, will reduce the amount of foam in the wastewater effluent.

In addition to building the vortex, the project included construction of an 84-inch outfall line that will allow the plant to discharge into the Mississippi River at a lower elevation, further reducing the occurrence of foam. The outfall line was installed using micro-tunneling, saving more than $1 million compared to typical shored excavation techniques.

Interested in seeing a short clip of the vortex in action? Click here!

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