DC Water project and chiefs earn honors 25 Aug 2016

TunnelTalk reporting

The DC Water Blue Plains Tunnel project, on which McMillen Jacobs Associates played a crucial engineering role, was awarded the 2016 ENR (Engineering News Record) Project of the Year Award in the Water/Environment Category in the USA Mid-Atlantic Region. The award will be presented at an awards presentation event on 1 November in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Blue Plains Tunnel (left) is the first segment of the major DC Water Clean Rivers CSO control project along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers
The Blue Plains Tunnel (left) is the first segment of the major DC Water Clean Rivers CSO control project along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers

Owner DC Water developed the awards submission, highlighting numerous project aspects, including how project challenges were overcome, the project’s safety program success, innovation and contribution to the industry, and function/aesthetic quality of the design.

The Blue Plains Tunnel is the first tunnel delivered under DC Water’s Long Term Control Plan (LTCP), and was procured under the design-build delivery method. Excavation proceeded through soft ground using a Herrenknecht EPBM. Tunneling began in April 2013 and concluded in July 2015. Nearly 50% of the 24,300ft long x 26ft diameter CSO tunnel runs under the Potomac and Anacostia rivers.

McMillen Jacobs Associates is an integral member of the Program Consultants Organization (PCO) for DC Water, providing tunnel and geotechnical consulting, issuing preliminary design documents, and providing technical and engineering support services—including technical review of tunnel alignments, drop shaft configurations, shaft layout and design, and microtunneling/piping alternatives.

In the meantime, DC Water CEO and General Manager, George S. Hawkins, was named as recipient of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) Public Officials Award, one of its most prestigious honors. WEF, the international not-for-profit technical and educational water quality organization, will present the honor during a ceremony at its 89th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference this Fall in New Orleans.

George S. Hawkins
George S. Hawkins

The Public Officials Award recognizes an individual who has made a documented, significant contribution in the areas of clean water legislation, public policy, government service, or another area of public prominence that resulted in improvements to the water environment.

In 2009 the DC Water Board of Directors voted Hawkins unanimously to the post of General Manager. Since then, he has adopted an ambitious agenda to improve aging infrastructure and comply with stringent regulatory requirements. The DC Water Clean Rivers Project is a $2.6 billion program to nearly eliminate overflows of sewage and stormwater to the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and Rock Creek.

Earlier in August, Hawkins was appointed by President Barack Obama to the US National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) that provides the President, through the Secretary of Homeland Security, with advice on the security of the critical infrastructure sectors and their information systems.

Also within DC Water, Liliana Maldonado, Director of Engineering & Technical Services with the authority, was named as a recipient of the prestigious 2016 WEF Fellows designation, which recognizes achievements, stature, and contributions in the water profession.

Liliana Maldonado' style=
Liliana Maldonado

Commenting on the awards, Hawkins said, “We are motivated every day to provide essential drinking water and wastewater services to protect public health and the environment and working within constrained budgets drives us to innovate relentlessly in how we do reach those goals. As a team, these awards recognize our dedication to public service, innovation and excellence.”

Executive Director Eileen O'Neill of WEF said: "Fellows of the Federation have made significant professional contributions toward preserving and enhancing the global water environment. The Federation is pleased to recognize these outstanding professionals for the substance of their impact on clean water."

DC Water is also being recognized in the inaugural Utility of the Future (UOTF) Today recognition program. This program is a joint effort by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), Water Environment Federation (WEF), Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF), and WaterReuse to promote wastewater utilities’ transition toward smarter, more efficient practices.

DC Water demonstrated a commitment to integrating Utility of the Future principles into the organization, specifically in its organizational culture and energy generation/ recovery for its Bailey Bioenergy Facility.

The UOTF initiative began in 2013 and recognizes the progress made by utilities to implement innovative technologies and to champion a culture of change. As the UOTF brand grows, “this recognition will inspire the sector as a whole to achieve still untapped economic and environmental benefits,” said NACWA CEO, Adam Krantz. The inaugural recipients represent a diverse array of public and private utilities from across the United States, Canada, and Denmark.

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