1. Make a bid
Usually, local governments and municipalities request the bids for treatment-facility renovations, and around 5–10 contractors will normally compete for each project. All the competing firms have one month to make a bid, and most often the lowest-bidding company wins the contract. Godin says that ACES likes to focus on projects that deal with process equipment and piping because they “are more interesting and challenging.” The firm won the Dogue Creek Sewage Pumping Station Rehabilitation in late 2009, besting five competitors with a low bid of roughly $4.2 million. The facility was still operating with much of the same equipment it was built with in the 1970s.
2. Assemble the project team
The first step in constructing the project is assembling a good team that can help avoid mistakes from the outset. “Our people are our greatest strength,” Godin says. The people most critical to the success of any project are the project manager and the superintendent, and at Dogue Creek, ACES assigned two of its senior-level people to these positions right away. From there, the firm simply staffed the project with the experienced field labor necessary to build the project.
3. Look at the engineer’s plan
All projects, Godin says, are planned by a professional engineering firm (usually hired by the municipality that awards the project) that lays out the exact specifications a facility needs to meet when the project is complete. In the case of Dogue Creek, Fairfax County hired CH2M Hill to design the facility’s renovation, which called for, among many things, new pumps, rerouted piping, upgraded electrical infrastructure, a new surge-control tank, and new ventilation equipment.
4. Selectively demolish aging equipment
Rehabilitation projects typically entail replacement of existing equipment with updated technology. At Dogue Creek, the entire pump-station dry well had to be gutted and refitted, and the four existing shaft-driven pumps had to be swapped out while keeping the pump station operational. This required a phased demolition process that involved demolishing each pump and its associated piping one at a time.
5. Place process equipment and piping
ACES specializes in the installation of process equipment and piping, typically the central focus of wastewater-facility projects. “We really try and preplan every detail of the installation in advance so [that] the actual work goes smoothly,” Godin says. ACES uses 3-D modeling to identify any conflicts or problems early in the process and coordinate a solution.
6. Overcome the challenges
As in any sector, each treatment-facility renovation has its own complications and quirks. “We just try to establish a good plan for the whole job and then execute that,” Godin says. “One of the things we emphasize is preplanning of specific work activities.” At Dogue Creek, the plant’s existing influent valve was inoperable, and there was no way to isolate the incoming flow to enable the required pipe demolition. To work around this, ACES identified a section of pipe where a line stop could be temporarily installed, and after that it carried out the demolition.
7. Finalize and test the system
Once the equipment and piping are installed and powered up, each project goes through a demonstration phase where the contractor has to prove that the equipment and control systems function as intended. “The cool thing about the Dogue Creek project is there really is a stark contrast between the original pump station and the finished product,” Godin says. “The new design really eliminated a lot of unnecessary equipment and piping and should be a great facility for Fairfax County.” ABQ