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Tue January 31, 2023 - Midwest Edition #3
As Montgomery County, Ohio's largest investment to date, a new pump station and pretreatment facility at Ohio's Western Regional Water Reclamation Facility (RWRF) will guarantee continued system stability and redundancy when completed at the end of 2024. There are approximately 30,000 sewer connections that flow to the Western RWRF plant, and most of them run through the pump station.
"Just like any other system in the world, our system is aging," said Matt Hilliard, director of Montgomery County Environmental Services. "While the pipes themselves are in good shape, this construction will ensure that we continue to provide quality service to our residents operationally.
"This is something that's needed to make certain our residents receive excellent service. We're thankful we have supportive County Commissioners and the County Administrator who approved the funding. We also have great engineering and finance teams which got this across the line."
Hilliard noted that the $65 million project is a true collaboration between local, state and federal officials, and one that has extreme significance.
"We always strive to be a great partner in the community and to the planet. The water we turn out at our wastewater plants is cleaner than the river water itself. Being a great partner to the environment, as well as our community, both locally and nationally, is a great source of pride for us."
According to Hilliard, the SMART project will restore existing infrastructure in Montgomery County and improve the local environment.
"Because the infrastructure is in good shape, this project will ensure that we continue to be able to deliver quality services to residents. Over the years, pieces of infrastructure have been replaced or rebuilt, though a large part of our infrastructure is original. Because sewage is corrosive, the life expectancy for some of our equipment can range from 15 to 25 years."
Ulliman Schutte Construction serves as the general contractor for the project.
"Ulliman Schutte is a national leader in the construction of water and wastewater treatment plants and pumping systems," said Hilliard. "We are privileged to have a local contractor that has completed over 120 water wastewater projects, valued at over $1.7 billion in the last 10 years. We have worked with them on smaller projects in the past and know that they will be able to bring this project to completion. Their team of engineers, architects, project managers and other key staff are a talented group, and we're honored to work with them.
"Another great aspect is that they're local to Montgomery County. To ensure the maximum return of this investment, we knew that we wanted to work with someone local so we could give back to our economy."
Work began in March 2022 and is progressing at a steady pace.
"Construction is going well," said Hilliard. "Despite challenges with material supplies, the project team has worked together to identify solutions, keeping things on track. Throughout the project, we have maintained a risk register to identify and mitigate risk to ensure delivery of a quality project on time and within budget.
"It's very rewarding to see work under way not only for the future benefits of our residents, but also for our staff. Years of hard work and planning are finally coming to fruition, and I think it's great to see it in real time now."
Nick Ulliman, Ulliman Schutte senior project manager, said one of the main construction challenges for crews involves groundwater at the Dryden Road site, which is contaminated by a chemical plume from an old factory in the area. "Our team is implementing specialized support of excavation and foundation systems to isolate the work area, protect the workers and avoid pumping groundwater, which could further draw the plume to the site. This is part of an ongoing remediation plan with the EPA."
Supply chain disruptions also have been a problem.
"To address these issues, our team has worked diligently to identify materials with long lead times and ensure procurement as early as possible," said Ulliman.
Contractors are working on excavation for the new building and foundations. Crews have installed metal sheeting, beams and bracing for the support of the excavation system and are now working on actual excavation to allow installation of concrete structures on the pump station site.
"At our pretreatment facility, utilities will be in, or under, the building foundation. Also, we have six new pumps at our new influent pump station. Prior to the installation of the pumps, we have concrete structures that will house the equipment. In addition to the pumps themselves, we also installed all associated piping, valves, flow meters, electrical and instrumentation equipment."
Excavation at the Western Regional site uses hydraulic excavators and dozers. Excavation at the Dryden Road site uses a combination of hydraulic excavators and a crane with a clamshell bucket to excavate below the groundwater table.
Western Regional will use a 65-ton mobile rough-terrain crane for concrete, process piping and process equipment work. Dryden Road has a 150-ton tracked lattice boom crane for concrete, process piping and process equipment tasks. Additional miscellaneous equipment will be utilized on both sites to complete sitework activities as needed. Materials are mostly reinforced concrete with an abundance of stainless steel for equipment treating the wastewater.
As for the most time-consuming part of the work, said Ulliman, "Modifying an operational wastewater treatment plant is challenging, due to the 24/7 operational requirements. Our team has invested tremendous resources in thoughtfully planning the connections. We will spend significant effort on testing, commissioning and operator training for the new facilities, prior to placing them into permanent operation.
"As a progressive design-build project, collaboration among our integrated team has been critical to our success. Early in the project, our team set goals to construct the project safely and collaboratively in a manner that minimizes water reclamation facility disruptions and maximizes value to the community."
Ulliman added, "Our collective effort has resulted in a project team that communicates openly, honestly, respectfully and frequently to maintain a trusting and cooperative team atmosphere. We believe this teamwork will result in the project that exceeds expectations in terms of schedule, budget, quality, environmental impact and operational efficiency." CEG
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