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Novel Water Management in a Process Water System—A Case Study

James Polando, Symmes Maini & McKee Associates, Inc.

The project was the conversion of an abandoned 230,000 S.F. office/warehouse into a manufacturing and testing lab facility for Teradyne's New Product Development division in Massachusetts.

This presentation will focus on the wastewater system because we believe it is exemplar of the Labs21 Approach to design.

Wastewater System; Phase 1:
Teradyne's 'new products' are devices that test integrated circuit boards. Due to the heat generated, these devices require "on-board" cooling tanks. Although purified water is the cooling media, the wastewater is considered industrial waste and can not be discharged to the sewer.

SMMA had to devise a wastewater management method in lieu of ordinary and wasteful discharge to sanitary. Particularly tricky was the method of evacuating the wastewater from the 'on-board" cooling tanks. Gravity drainage was not an option and local pumps were also avoided at Teradyne's request.

So SMMA developed a vacuum assisted liquid evacuation system to lift the wastewater from floor-mounted separator tanks to overhead piping and then to a central liquid/air separator. The design incorporated a central vacuum system, similar to industrial vacuum systems, but required a unique liquid/vacuum transfer tank. It was an innovative blending of 2 technologies. The system was beta tested and has proven successful.

Wastewater System; Phase 2:
SMMA designed a closed-loop filtration system to treat the wastewater (in lieu of disposal) to re-feed the water purification system to significantly reduce water consumption. However, until Teradyne completes the profile of the wastewater contaminants, the wastewater is being hauled off site.


Many hours were spent with the researchers at Teradyne to develop a water collection system that supported on-going 'new product' development in an environmentally responsible and economic way. In order to engineer such a system, SMMA needed answers that the researchers didn't yet have. Remember, the mission of this facility was to constantly invent and reinvent 'new products'. Consequently, SMMA engineers and Teradyne researchers worked together to devise solutions that not only satisfied the owner's requests for energy efficiency and flexibility, but resulted in the development of a unique vacuum system to transfer wastewater from the 'new product' to the wastewater collection system. Constructed and beta tested by the vacuum equipment manufacturer, this unique system is available to other engineers and owners faced with similar challenges.

Water use and disposal data was computed, projected and compiled as life cycle cost analyses to support the concept, as well as to design the system. In addition, these quantities were used to establish the wastewater allocation established for the overall site development. This wastewater system illustrates successful and innovative design that addresses economic challenges and keeps a vigilant eye on the importance of resource conservation.

We found that the ever evolving nature of the research challenged the team. Since it was a novel problem there was no cookie cutter solution. The whole team; researchers, engineers, architects, maintenance personnel, safety officers, financiers, etc. all used their knowledge to think around the corner to envision "what if".

Labs21 Connection:

The specific items which this project addresses in the Labs21 Approach are;

  • Adopt voluntary goals,
  • Assess opportunities from a "whole buildings" approach,
  • Use life-cycle cost analysis as an important decision-making tool,
  • Employ a range of energy and water efficiency strategies,
  • Measure energy and water consumption and track emission reductions,
  • Promote energy and water efficiency efforts.

SMMA and Teradyne established and exceeded the economic and sustainable design goals set by the corporation and the community. The successes include:

  • An adaptive reuse of an existing building into a highly efficient facility which also adds to the community economics;
  • Design of an innovative and unique closed loop water system which not only provides superb energy efficiency that translates directly to economic savings, but also can provide for dramatic savings of water resources through water conservation;
  • A closed loop water system that can reduce the wastewater to near zero;
  • The liquid waste collection system was developed and designed to avoid the demolition of large portions of the existing 8"-thick floor slab and minimize excessive landfill loading;
  • The consolidation of Teradyne's east coast lab and manufacturing process - decreasing employee travel time, and material transportation; and,
  • Designing a single process cooling water system that was flexible enough to accommodate the different engineering criteria of Phase one, and then Phase 2.


James Polando is an Associate Principal at Symmes, Maini & McKee Associates, (SMMA). He is a Senior Engineer with extensive knowledge in the design of process-related systems, specialty piping systems, and clean piping systems for laboratory, semiconductor, and biopharmaceutical clients. He has over 30 years of experience in all phases of complex projects including laboratories, clean rooms, utility plants, and clinical facilities. He is responsible for systems concepts and master planning, coordination, and quality control.

He is twice a past President of the Boston Chapter of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) and is the current Chairman of the ASPE Technical and Research Committee and a member of the Long Range Planning Committee. He is on the Board of Directors and a Charter Member of the Boston Area Chapter of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE).

Polando is the Special Engineering Liaison to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Plumbing Code Revision Committee. In addition, he is a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the American Society of Heating Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Polando's registrations include Massachusetts, (Plumbing, Fire Protection), Maine, (Fire Protection), Vermont, (Fire Protection), and is certified in Plumbing Engineering (CIPE) by ASPE and a Certified Designer of Plumbing and Gas Systems by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

His publications and presentations include

  • Clean Rooms, 1996: "Operations-Driven Planning, Design and Construction."
  • Tradeline Seminars, "Facility Expansions for Clinical Manufacturing," a case study.
  • Genetic Engineering News, "Adopting Operations-Driven Planning Can Lead to Success in Biotechnology," May 1997.
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturing International, "Evaluating the Facility Design Process," 1989.
  • Plumbing Systems and Design, "Facility Investigation Methods" 2001


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