Black & Veatch has designs on Cincinnati tunnel project

Planning is under way for a US$244M (£156M), 1.2-mile tunnel system, pump station and enhanced high-rate treatment facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, that could reduce the mixture of sewage and stormwater that enters local waterways, improving the quality of life for the more than two million people living in the metropolitan area.

Black & Veatch has won the deal to design 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 programme 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, stormwater detention basins, rain gardens and stream separations.

David Egger, vice president and heavy civil lead in Black & Veatch’s global water business, said: “Tunnels are an inherently sustainable design method for capturing combined sewer and sanitary sewer overflows. 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 minimise backups into homes and businesses, excess sewage is discharged into local waterways. Tunnels provide wastewater and stormwater utilities with additional holding capacity to significantly reduce or eliminate overflow discharges.

Dan McCarthy, president and CEO of Black & Veatch’s global water business, said: “Tunnel design and implementation for reducing sewer overflows is a steadily growing practice at Black & Veatch.

“We expect this growth to continue as more cities – both large and small – work to reduce their sewer overflows.”

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