West Palm Beach firm’s intricate design improves Lake Okeechobee water quality
CDM Smith Inc. of West Palm Beach, Fla., has earned a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement in the American Council of Eng. Companies’ (ACEC) 48th annual Engineering Excellence Awards for the Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area in Okeechobee, Fla.
The ecologically sensitive waters of Lake Okeechobee are becoming cleaner thanks to an intricate system designed to remove up to 19 metric tons of phosphorous a year from 340 sq miles of wetlands. A key component of the ongoing program to protect the Northern Everglades, the project includes a 2,700-acre emergent wetland, 9,000 ft of canal improvements, and water control structures with more than 20 miles of earthen levees.
Using advanced modeling technology, the project team optimized the configuration and flows of new and existing elements, essentially producing an environmentally sound “reservoir effect” without the need for an actual reservoir.
The project is among 143 engineering projects throughout the nation and the world recognized by ACEC as preeminent engineering achievements for 2013. Judging for the Engineering Excellence Awards—known as the “Academy Awards of the engineering industry”—took place in February, conducted by a panel of more than 25 engineers, architects, government officials, media members and academics. Criteria for the awards include uniqueness and originality, technical innovation, social and economic value, complexity and success in meeting goals.
Final top winners, including 16 Honor Awards, eight Grand Awards and the prestigious “Grand Conceptor Award” for the year’s most outstanding overall engineering achievement, will be announced at the Engineering Excellence Awards Gala, a black-tie event to be held Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at The Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C.