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JV team completes wastewater treatment plant projects $71.7 million under budget

Pittsburgh — The CB&I, Michael Baker International and Gannett Fleming joint venture (JV) team announced completion of construction management services for four projects as part of the six-year upgrade of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn, N.Y. Not only were the four construction projects, valued at approximately $1.3 billion, delivered under budget, the team achieved all consent order milestones, allowing $71.7 million to be returned to the city.

The project also was recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) New York Engineering Excellence Awards, earning Michael Baker and partners the association’s 2017 ACEC New York Diamond Award in the category of Waste and Storm Water.

Located on a 53-acre site, the Newtown Creek Plant is the largest of the 14 wastewater treatment facilities inside New York City. Owned and operated by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP), the facility processes wastewater from a collective area of approximately 25 square miles from sections of Brooklyn, Queens and a third of Manhattan.

“Michael Baker is proud to be a part of a partnership that rallied its collective expertise to problem solve and develop innovative and cost-effective solutions for the community serviced by this facility,” said Michael Brescia, P.E., Michael Baker Senior Vice President and Northeast Regional Director.  “As a leader in the field of water resources engineering, these are some of the ways We Make a Difference through our commitment to excellence during all phases of project work.”

CB&I, Michael Baker and Gannet Fleming formed the joint venture team for construction management services as part of the final phase of the three-phase upgrade that increased the plant’s wet weather processing capacity from 310 to 720 million gallons per day. Services consisted of four major construction projects:

  • Construction of Central Residuals Building (CRB), where all non-biological matter is removed from the wastewater;
  • Upgrade of South Battery and Control Building, which provides grit removal, aerobic processing and biological settling for one third of the plant’s wastewater flow;
  • Construction of New Sludge Loading Dock facility (on Whale Creek), maintenance dredging of a Superfund site, demolition of the old East River Sludge Storage Tank and decommissioning of the East River Loading Dock; and
  • Construction of miscellaneous other features, various mechanical system modifications and process wrap-up.

Innovation played a key role enabling the construction management team to deliver the project with only a 1.2 percent change order rate, on time and under budget. The team incorporated 4D Building Information Modeling (BIM) to address construction challenges, meet milestones and finish the projects two months ahead of schedule. Also included in the upgrade, under a separate prior contract with CB&I, was the construction of eight, stainless-steel-clad, egg-shaped, anaerobic digesters designed to reduce landfill gas emissions. These 140-foot-high domes are sculpturally lit by blue LED lighting and are visible from numerous Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan vantage points.

Additional social, economic and environmental value to the community include: new technology that significantly reduces hydrogen sulfide emissions and consequently odor and air pollution; an expanded playground and waterfront development resulting from the decommissioned East River loading dock; and the implementation of a biogas program that is expected to heat nearly 5,200 homes and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 90,000 metric tons by 2017.  As an extension of this program, organic food waste from school lunches will be delivered to the treatment plant and added to the digestion process to increase the production of biogas, harnessing a natural product of wastewater treatment that will provide renewable natural gas to residents, help clean the air and reduce landfill waste at no cost to ratepayers.