Nov 12, 2010

Black & Veatch to Design Tunnel System for Cincinnati

Project aims to reduce sewage and storm water in local waterways

Planning is now underway for a $244 million, 1.2-mile tunnel system, pump station and enhanced high-rate treatment facility in Cincinnati that could reduce the mixture of sewage and storm water that enters local waterways.

Black & Veatch is designing the Lower Mill Creek Tunnel that could be a part of the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati’s Project Groundwork, a multi-billion-dollar and multi-year public works program that will reduce combined sewer overflows by 85% and eliminate all sanitary sewer overflows.

The Metropolitan Sewer District is also exploring alternatives or supplements to the tunnel, such as source control solutions, storm water detention basins, rain gardens and stream separations.

“Tunnels are an inherently sustainable design method for capturing combined sewer and sanitary sewer overflows,” said David Egger, vice president and heavy civil lead in Black & Veatch’s global water business. “Because the majority of construction takes place deep underground, there are fewer disturbances and delays to the local community when compared with open cut, or ‘trenched,’ construction methods.”

In metropolitan communities across the country, sewer overflows occur when there is too much water for the existing infrastructure to handle, usually during or after a heavy rainstorm. To relieve pressure in the system and minimize backups into homes and businesses, excess sewage is discharged into local waterways. Tunnels provide wastewater and storm water utilities with additional holding capacity to significantly reduce or eliminate overflow discharges.

“Tunnel design and implementation for reducing sewer overflows is a steadily growing practice at Black & Veatch,” said Dan McCarthy, president and CEO of Black & Veatch’s global water business. “We expect this growth to continue as more cities–both large and small–work to reduce their sewer overflows.”