Excellence in Engineering Award

2020 Excellence in Engineering Award - Winners Announced!

2020 Excellence in Engineering Awards

Call for nominations is closed.

The award recognizes excellence in engineering and/or planning for water supply, treatment, or conveyance projects.  Persons, agencies, consultants, contractors, and water utilities who have recently or will be completing an eligible project in Idaho, Oregon, or Washington may apply.

 Projects may be submitted within the following categories:

  • Large Engineering Works (with construction value greater than $5,000,000)
  • Small Engineer Works (with construction value less than or equal to $5,000,000)
  • Engineering Planning

The Engineering Committee will be looking for outstanding water related projects for consideration for the 2020 award which have shown the following:

  • Creativity and innovation in planning or design,
  • Overall cost savings to the water using community,
  • Enhanced safety to the public and/or water resources,
  • Extended asset service life,
  • Integration of cutting edge technology, and
  • Sustainability.

Winners will be announced during the Best Tasting Water presentation at the 2021 PNWS-AWWA conference. Each winner will be offered the opportunity to prepare a poster on their project to be featured at the conference.

 Please contact Nick Robertson at NRobertson@dowl.com or (971) 634-2020 for more information.

Congratulations to 2020's Winners!

The Engineering Committee is proud to announce the 2020 Excellence in Engineering award winners.  Excellence can take many forms, and the awards acknowledge creativity and innovation in overcoming difficult project challenges.

Thank you to all the nominees who submitted such worthy projects and congratulations to our two winners!

Small Engineering Works Project Winner - Terrace Street Pump Station

Owner: Department of Public Works, City of Ashland, Oregon

Engineering Team: Keller Associates, Inc.

Contractor: McClure and Sons, Inc.

City of Ashland’s Terrace Street Pump Station (PS) was originally constructed in the late 1970s and had three unique functions:

  1. Pump water to the city water treatment plant (a critical facility for the city to utilize its second supply source) from Ashland Canal,
  2. Convey water through an inverted siphon to an additional irrigation canal, and
  3. Discharge water to Ashland Creek.

In 2012 the PS was identified for improvements due to its importance to the city’s water supply strategy, existing safety hazards, increasing operations and maintenance costs, and lack of electrical efficiency. This PS was not an efficient system. It was a great burden on Staff, requiring constant physical monitoring, and cost the City substantial sums of money in overtime and electrical costs; the over-sized 200hp motors could only by operated at 100% since they didn’t have variable frequency drives.

The city secured funding in 2016 through Business Oregon and the Infrastructure Finance Authority. Soon after, the city contracted with Keller Associates, Inc. to design and implement the new facilities. The design had many challenges including, maintaining the current footprint (17’x17’), preserving the existing wet well to save cost, and a suite of new equipment: water quality pre-treatment, SCADA system, new pumps, variable frequency drives, and level-sensing equipment. All in a neighborhood friendly package, that even included a faux window to help it blend into its surroundings.

The challenges for the Terrace Street PS didn’t end with design. McClure and Sons, Inc was selected as construction contractor and work began in October 2018, as soon as the Ashland Canal went dry. The construction window was only 7 months, in a residential neighborhood, and in a constrained lot. The construction team successfully met this deadline and the project was completed on budget and on schedule.

The successful Terrace Street PS accomplished the following for the city:

  • Eliminated severe safety hazards of electrical shock and confined space,
  • Reduced operation and maintenance costs,
  • Integrated pumping redundancy and pre-treatment for water quality, and
  • Improved the delivery and reliability of the city’s secondary water source.
Large Engineering Works Project Winner - Lebanon Water Treatment Plant

Owner: City of Lebanon, Oregon

Engineering Team: Carollo Engineers, Inc.

Contractor: Slayden Constructors, Inc.

The City of Lebanon faced many challenges in developing the new water treatment plant that now provides the city with water independence for the first time in 72 years.  Specific challenges included financing the largest undertaking in city history, building a new river intake on an extremely constrained site, and moving from contract-operations to city-operations. These were all successfully addressed by a multi-disciplinary team of city leaders and staff, Business Oregon Infrastructure Finance, consultants, CM/GC contractor and its subcontractors, innovative membrane supplier, and regulatory review and approval agencies, all united together to provide reliable high-quality drinking water for the city.

Some of the unusual constraints the project team successfully managed included:

  • Reducing cost to lessen funding burden on the community meant significant value engineering was needed from the engineering and CM/GC contractor team to maintain the project’s high-quality water output. Ultimately $5.5M in costs were avoided though the value engineering ideas.
  • Resilient intake design to accommodate dynamic river conditions, climate change, and seismic risks was challenging due to limited area near the river bounded by a busy county road. These challenges were addressed with investments in temporary traffic control, installing a platform above the river to work from, and utilizing submersible style pumps to minimize the pump station footprint.
  • Expandable open platform membrane racks and membrane procurement were utilized to ensure competitive membrane procurements now and in the future, as well as allow the plant to more easily adapt to improvements in membrane technology. Membrane racks, plant equipment, and piping were all designed to allow for a quick and low-cost capacity expansion from 4.5 MGD to 6.0 or 8.0 MGD.
  • Moving from contract operations to city operations was a city priority with the development of the new plant. Assisted by Carollo, the city identified staffing and operation and maintenance requirement and then provided opportunity for existing operations staff to attend classes and become certified for plant operation. Two individuals at the city took this opportunity. The new operations team was rounded out by the hiring of an experienced supervisor. The new staff were engaged in the final plant construction and preparation prior to the city’s transition to supplying water from the new plant.
The innovation and experience of the team was applied to overcome these challenges and provide facilities that can easily and economically be expanded, allowing the city to attract industry and promote growth to strengthen the community. Lebanon Water Treatment Plant is a true demonstration of the teamwork it takes for Excellence in Engineering.

Large Engineering Works Project Nominees

Project: Grabhorn Reservoir Replacement

Owner: Tualatin Valley Water District (Oregon)

Engineering Team: Keller Associates, Inc.

Contractor: Emery & Sons Construction Group

Tualatin Valley Water District’s (TVWD’s) original Grabhorn Reservoir (with a capacity of 5 million gallons) was the only reservoir directly serving over 50,000 people located in TVWD’s largest service area. TVWD recognized that replacing the reservoir would be challenging because the tank was located 10 yards from the neighboring property and buried almost 45 feet deep. Furthermore, the site housed critical water supply facilities, including an Aquifer Storage Recovery (ASR) well and large diameter water pipelines, that needed to remain operational during construction. Steep slopes, shallow/hard bedrock, and extensive permitting obstacles also needed to be addressed.  

TVWD turned to the Keller Associates and Emery & Sons Construction team to deliver the Grabhorn Reservoir Replacement Project, employing a progressive-design-build delivery approach that included:
  • Creativity and innovation in design and construction facilitated through progressive design build delivery
  • Overall cost savings to the water using community estimated to be $1.4 M
  • Enhanced safety by employing safety features through design to benefit operators and the public
  • Extended asset service life by selecting reliable materials and planning for operational flexibility
  • Integration of cutting-edge technology such as visualization tools to optimize the site layout, minimize rock excavation, and valve house design to eliminate confined space entry
  • Sustainability effort to preserve trees, reuse site soils, crush and use the old reservoir concrete onsite, and recycle metal from the old reservoir structure
The collaborative nature of Grabhorn Reservoir Replacement Project reduced design and construction timelines, provided increased safety and seismic resiliency for TVWD’s largest service area and saved the rate payers more than $1.4 million dollars.

Project: 152nd Avenue Reservoir

Owner: Clackamas River Water and Sunrise Water Authority (Oregon)

Engineering Team: Murraysmith, Inc.

Contractor: Rotschy, Inc.

Clackamas River Water (CRW) is implementing a multi-year infrastructure “backbone” improvement plan made possible through municipal bonding and other funds. The 6.0 million gallon (MG) 152nd Avenue Reservoir project is one of the backbone facilities and greatly enhances CRW’s ability to provide emergency fire flow, system pumping efficiencies, and excellent water quality to the local community. The reservoir is a critical seismically resilient water storage facility for both CRW and their project partner, Sunrise Water Authority (SWA), who together serve nearly 100,000 people.

The reservoir site was purchased in the early 1980s with the foresight that it had ground elevations needed to locate a storage reservoir with adequate water pressure to serve CRW’s growing system. In the following decades, the need for the reservoir grew as residential development flourished and surrounded the proposed reservoir site on three sides, ultimately creating a tightly constrained project boundary. 

The project was a success for both CRW and SWA for the following reasons:
  • Intensive community outreach to the many reservoir site neighbors, mitigation of construction impacts through vibration and settlement monitoring, and requirements for the contractor to assign a public coordination supervisor to immediately address neighbor concerns
  • Creative ideas and application of technology for seismically resilient storage through use of the AWWA D110 Type 1 tank design, free-sliding connections at the tank roof and floor, planning for differential movement between the structure and connected piping, and inclusion of a seismic sensor and electrically actuated isolation valves to close when a predetermined ground vibration threshold is exceeded
  • Innovation, achieving cost savings and a more sustainable project footprint by using recycled pavement materials as backfill where allowable, using trees from the site for the lagging in the soldier pile shoring, and installing H-piles for the soldier pile shoring so that they can be removed and reused. These ideas and more resulted in a low-bid result that came in $400,000 below the engineer’s estimate

Congratulations to 2019's Winners!

The Engineering Committee is proud to announce the winners of the 2019 Excellence in Engineering awards.  Excellence can take many forms, and the awards acknowledge creativity and innovation in overcoming difficult project challenges.

Nominations were accepted across three project categories:

·         Best Engineering Planning Project

·         Best Small Engineering Works Project (construction cost of less than $5,000,000)

·         Best Large Engineering Works Project (construction cost of $5,000,000 or more)

Eight Engineering Works Projects were submitted in early 2019 for consideration, 5 large projects and 3 small projects. An independent panel of reviewers ranked the projects by their representation of excellence in engineering, considering the following criteria:

·         Incorporation of innovative technologies or approaches

·         Difficulty of the challenges overcome

·         Inclusion of sustainability elements (includes resource sustainability or cost effectiveness)

·         Considerations for system or project resiliency (seismic, flood, system redundancy, etc.)

Thank you to all the nominees who submitted such worthy projects and congratulations to our two winners!

Small Engineering Works Project  - C4 Tap and Transmission Main Project

Owner: Covington Water District

Engineering Team: Gray and Osborne, Inc., McKinstry Essention, LLC.

Contractor: McKinstry Essention, LLC.

Recognizing the potential to capture the energy traditionally lost in pressure regulating devices, Covington Water District led a multifaceted infrastructure project to install a water turbine in their new C-4 intertie. The District now generates electricity to offset its own use and continues to plan for the future, leaving space for a second turbine which will be installed as District water demands grow. The District pursued grant funds and creative agreements to reduce the capital cost of the project and ensure that excess power generated can be sent to the grid and credited against utility costs.  

Large Engineering Works Project - Hannah Mason Pump Station

Owner: Portland Water Bureau

Engineering Team: Murraysmith, Inc.

Contractor: James W. Fowler, Co.

The 100-year old, 12 MGD, Fulton Pump Station provided water to over 36,000 people in Southwest Portland, while also supplying wholesale water to multiple municipal agencies. With little room for growth on its existing site, PWB looked elsewhere for nearby sites to construct a sustainable facility that would allow them to take advantage of existing water infrastructure and achieve their goals of maximum energy efficiency, high reliability, and improved redundancy for years to come. A City-owned site in Willamette Park met those important criteria, but also posed significant challenges including designing a pump station to operate efficiently on two very different suction pressures, floodplain development regulations, constraints to PWB operation practices due to City park rules, a complex land use approval process, concerns by an active and engaged neighborhood, and a review by the Portland Design Commission.

PWB’s design team, managed and led by Murraysmith, successfully navigated these obstacles with the design of a highly-efficient and versatile pumping station housed in a distinctive yet unobtrusive building, while reducing wire-to-water energy consumption by almost 50% compared to the old station. The facility was built on land owned by Hannah Mason in the late 1800’s and was named in honor of her philanthropic deeds to the City of Portland. Upon completion, the project demonstrated it met PWB’s efficiency targets and earned a $500,000 incentive check from Energy Trust of Oregon.

Congratulations to 2018's Winners!

The Engineering Committee is proud to announce the winners of the 2018 Excellence in Engineering awards.  Excellence can take many forms, and the awards look to acknowledge creativity and innovation in overcoming difficult project challenges.

Nominations were accepted across three distinct project categories:

·         Best Engineering Planning Project

·         Best Small Engineering Works Project (construction cost of less than $5,000,000)

·         Best Large Engineering Works Project (construction cost of $5,000,000 or more)

Best Engineering Planning Project

Tacoma Water won the planning category with their Potential Lead Gooseneck Service Replacement Plan. The project developed a strategic plan to replace approximately 1,215 potential lead gooseneck services in the water system. Tacoma Water’s plan identified that it will remove lead goosenecks by targeting the population of potential lead gooseneck services for replacement in a strategic manner that will:

A.   Accomplish all replacements within 5 years
B.   Complete work in a geographically equitable manner
C.   Provide relevant, regular communication
D.   Tactically coordinate and plan service replacements
E.   Minimize disruptions to staffing levels and planned work


Given the sensitive nature of lead related to public water systems, their plan includes steps to verify goosenecks at each customer home, establishes milestones within time and the project’s $9.9 million budget, and provides multiple tools to communicate with customers and public officials.

Team members deserving special recognition include Corey Bedient, Ryan Flynn, Matt Hubbard, and Seth Doull.


Best Small Engineering Works Project

The North City/Denny Clouse Pump Station project for the North City Water District was selected as the winner. Located in Shoreline, Washington, the pump station was needed to increase the reliability of domestic, fire, and emergency water supply to customers in three pressure zones. A team of consultants, led by BHC, designed the facility that utilizes pumping to supply water to the newly expanded 615 Zone, gravity to the 590 Zone, and pressure reducing valves to the 502 Zone. Unique to the project was the need to work around, and keep operational, the existing pump station, a storage reservoir, and maintain access to cellular communications equipment. Construction was successfully completed in 2017 by JW Fowler.


Team members deserving special recognition include Denny Clouse, Diane Pottinger, and Valerie Tokumoto of the North City Water District, Ron Dorn, Ken Dahl, Jeff Gibson, Preston Love, and Dave Harms of BHC Consultants, Vince Follett of Follett Engineering, Donn Stone of Rolluda Architects, Ola Jarvegren of FSi, Jamie Van De Vanter of the Van De Vanter Group, and Adam Jenkins of The Greenbusch Group.


Best Large Engineering Works Project

The winner was the Lake Oswego-Tigard WTP Expansion project. In 2008, the cities of Lake Oswego and Tigard endorsed a partnership agreement for sharing drinking water resources and costs. By sharing the costs of planning, designing, and constructing a new water supply system, each city secured its long-term water supply needs at a cost neither could afford alone. The Project Delivery Team was responsible for the innovative design which more than doubled the capacity of the existing LO-T WTP (from 16 to 38 mgd) by carefully replacing the existing treatment processes with new, higher-rate and more robust treatment technologies (including a new administration building, finished water pump station and clearwell), all while maintaining uninterrupted supply to customers.


Design was completed by Stantec, Program Manager was Brown and Caldwell, and construction was completed by Slayden.