Seattle Drinking Water Project Earns Nation's Top Safety Honor

June 18, 2003

In little more than a year's time, 70 percent of metropolitan Seattle's drinking water will come from the Cedar Water Treatment project now under construction. The project's prime contractor, CH2M HILL, received the highest honor in the United States for occupational safety and health.

Following a rigorous, two-year application process CH2M HILL qualified for one of two "Voluntary Protection Programs"–Star or Merit. During a ceremony held this afternoon at the project site, the firm was formally recognized for achieving Star status. Only 16 other construction industry projects in the country have ever accomplished this designation. CH2M HILL is the first general contractor in the State of Washington to attain Star status.

Voluntary Protection Programs identify and promote best practices. They were essentially "blueprinted" by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Heath Administration more than 20 years ago. In each state, the agency responsible for enforcing OSHA regulations coordinates the programs directly.

In this case, the Washington Industrial Safety and Heath Administration oversaw the application process, including conducting 80 interviews with individual project staff and bimonthly site visits. The agency will assess the treatment plant project's safety practices over the entire life of its operations to ensure continued attainment of the standards outlined in the Star program.

Seattle Public Utilities selected CH2M HILL in March 2001 as prime contractor. When complete in fall 2004, the plant will treat 180 million gallons of water per day, with the capacity to treat 275 million gallons per day. Using a combination of ozonation and ultraviolet light processes to treat the water, the plant will produce some of the highest quality drinking water in the world. It will also be the largest UV plant in the world. Design and construction costs represent $78 million of the $109-million agreement. This is a $50 million cost savings realized by the efficiencies of having the designers, builders and operators collaborate on all aspects of the project from the outset.

The project involves construction of seven facilities and installation of 64- and 78-inch-diameter pipe over a 17-acre site. More than 250 people will be employed during construction.

CH2M HILL is also helping Seattle Public Utilities achieve the city's "Green Building Standard," mandating that all new buildings achieve the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design "Silver" rating. This certification program, sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council, is the world's most stringent rating program for environmental design. Construction workers have been reusing and salvaging materials, and tracking them for recycling, salvage or disposal. Of the 96 tons of debris generated at the site, nearly 79 tons have been recycled.

Source: CH2M HILL