Black & Veatch to design major D.C. water supply project

Awarded contract to study and design Bi-County Water Supply Main Project near nation's capital. New main will help the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) meet multiple area needs...

GAITHERSBURG, MD, Sept. 21, 2004 -- Black & Veatch, a global design, consulting and construction company, has been awarded a contract by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) to perform an alignment study and detailed design for the Bi-County Water Supply Main Project. The approximately 30,000-linear-foot-long, 84-inch-diameter supply main will help WSSC meet increasing water consumption needs in Prince George's County and provide reliable system pressure in Montgomery County.

"This project has been planned by WSSC for a number of years and will provide the last segment of major transmission capacity into Prince George's County," said John Mitchell, WSSC project manager. "To make this objective a reality, Black & Veatch has assembled a project team that reflects not only the needed technical expertise, but also the sensitivity to community issues associated with a large project in an urban area."

Because the study area of the new main will encompass a suburban residential area and a highly valued urban park, the recently launched study phase of the project includes assessment of social and community impacts and an extensive community outreach program, as well as geophysical testing to define rock profile and subsurface characteristics. WSSC has formed a Policy Review Group (PRG) consisting of representatives of both counties and the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, which operates the park, to oversee the study and design. In addition to providing engineering and geotechnical services, Black & Veatch is assisting WSSC with the development of strategy and materials for community outreach and the presentation of technical information to the PRG and the public at workshops and meetings.

The study requires careful consideration and balancing of technical, economic, public, political and environmental factors to identify the preferred alignment and best method of construction. Construction alternatives under consideration are cut-and-cover pipeline, hard-rock tunnel and a combination of methods. The environmental and community impacts and costs of cut-and-cover pipeline and tunneling construction methods through suburban development areas and scenic settings will be compared. Design of the supply main will include extensive geotechnical investigations consisting of shallow and deep borings, laboratory testing and geotechnical analyses.

Black & Veatch is leveraging the talents of its national tunneling and underground engineering group to more effectively deliver specialized tunneling and geo-engineering services to water and wastewater clients.

"This project is a great example of how we're able to meet the full spectrum of utility needs," said David Egger, a Black & Veatch vice president who leads the tunneling and underground engineering group. "We're happy that with one management structure we can bring not only our traditional water transmission expertise, but also our large-scale urban tunneled conveyance experience to a long-time client like the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission."

The alignment study is scheduled for completion in mid to late 2005, and the detailed design will be completed approximately one year later. When construction is completed (estimated 2008) , the new supply main will provide reliable conveyance of drinking water and help maintain pressure in the distribution system, benefiting WSSC customers in both counties.

About Black & Veatch
Black & Veatch Corp. is a leading global engineering, consulting and construction company specializing in infrastructure development in the fields of energy, water and information. Founded in 1915, it serves its clients with conceptual and preliminary engineering services, engineering design, procurement, construction, financial management, asset management, information technology, environmental, security design and consulting, and management consulting services.

The employee-owned company's Water Sector provides innovative, technology-based solutions to utilities, governments and industries worldwide. Local project managers work with a global team of water and wastewater treatment process experts to address site-specific challenges through a broad range of consulting, study, planning, design, design-build and construction management services.

Black & Veatch has more than 90 offices worldwide and is ranked on the Forbes "500 Largest Private Companies in the United States" listing for 2003. The company's website address is

About WSSC
The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, a bi-county agency established by the State of Maryland in 1918, is responsible for planning, designing, constructing, operating and maintaining water and sewerage systems for nearly all of Montgomery and Prince George's Counties serving 1.5 million customers over an area of nearly 1,000 square miles. The agency's mission statement is: "We are entrusted by our community to provide safe and reliable water, life's most precious resource, and return clean water to our environment, all in a financially responsible manner." Its website address is


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