Burns & McDonnell adds wastewater services to Twin Cities’ office in order to better serve the oil and gas industry

Whether it’s a new or existing project, dealing with wastewater properly is a necessity for oil and gas producers. To better serve its customers, Burns & McDonnell has added a new industrial wastewater engineering group at its Minneapolis-St. Paul office.

“We realized we could better serve the northern sector of our clients and reach new ones from an office here rather than just out of Kansas City,” says Dr. Patrick Hirl, who heads up the practice and has more than two decades of experience working in the oil, gas and chemical industries. “It’s all about providing better service to our customers.”

In addition to the Twin Cities and Kansas City, Burns & McDonnell also has wastewater engineering staff in Houston. “We’ve divided the country into thirds; it brings us closer to our clients,” Hirl says.

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Burns & McDonnell provides a full range of process engineering services focused on the refinery sector. While the Twin Cities industrial wastewater group can work with multiple industries, it will primarily focus on oil and natural gas, including biogas and other renewable sources of natural gas, Hirl says.

Throughout his career, Hirl has worked with clients to design and develop new chemical and biological treatment processes for wastewater, biofuels and other forms of renewable energy. His work at Burns & McDonnell is a continuation of that.

“We understand the nuances of implementing water and wastewater solutions in different facilities and can tailor our approach to serve the customer,” he says. “Our team can act as the on-site regulatory advisor, long-range planner and fiscal advisor, designer or constructor to help increase reliability and compliance of water treatment systems while meeting ever present tight budgets and schedules.” 

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Hirl says the firm provides a variety of wastewater engineering services for clients, taking projects from concept to construction. Even with low oil prices, Burns & McDonnell wasn’t afraid of expanding into that market from its Twin Cities location, he adds.

“We already have many clients in this industry and while some projects may have been put on hold, a lot of them are moving ahead, especially in the gas market,” Hirl says.

Customers are often interested in new technologies, which Hirl will help them explore. “Clients will come in with a unique problem and ask me to evaluate different technologies to see if something will work for them. I do the due diligence on it and let them know if it can help,” he says.

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Hirl has also helped develop new technology for the natural gas industry, focused on producing natural gas from renewable materials and storing excess electrical energy in the natural gas pipeline. He said those technologies center on a core wastewater treatment technology – anaerobic digestion.

“I’ve done a lot of work with anaerobic digestion and by bringing that and these other services into the mix, you can see how we’ll be looking to develop new opportunities in the gas and oil market,” Hirl says.

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