2023 Awards Winner – Gold Highway and Infrastructure: AECOM & C.H Nickerson

Project Name: Woonsocket Water Treatment Plant 
Owner: City of Woonsocket
Design-Builder: AECOM & C.H. Nickerson, A Joint Venture 
Lead Designer: AECOM
Major Participants: City of Woonsocket, AECOM, C.H. Nickerson, CDM Smith, RIDEM, RIDOH 

The original Charles G. Hamman Water Treatment Plant (Hamman WTP) was built in 1962 and is located on the banks of the Blackstone River.  In the process of treating the water from the City’s reservoirs, backwash water was being discharged into the Blackstone River. 

The City determined that the only cost- effective and prudent solution to eliminating this discharge to the Blackstone River was to construct a new facility where the backwash water could be recycled for additional treatment by mixing with the plant raw water. 

In 2017 the DBO Team of Woonsocket Water Services (WWS) consisting of AECOM and SUEZ Water Environmental, Inc. now Veolia, was awarded a Service Contract from the City to address their existing Consent Order from RIDEM, anticipated future drinking water regulations, and water treatment capacity and reliability needs. The Joint Venture team of AECOM and C.H. Nickerson conducted the Design-Build portion of the project and Veolia the operations portion of the project and current operator. 

The new WTP has the capacity to treat 7.0 million gallons of water per day (mgd) including a new raw water pumping station; a completely new WTP; and new raw and finished water mains. A new Finished Water Pump Station pumps the finished water to the City’s existing transmission network, with a tie-in point on Reservoir Road. 

The DB Team began early work construction in the spring of 2018 consisting of the blasting and removal of significant ledge at the new WTP site and the installation of the new raw and finished water pipelines that would eventually connect the new WTP. The main construction of the new WTP began in fall of 2018 through 2021. The project had to navigate through the onset of the COVID pandemic and overcome those many obstacles to maintain construction and complete the project. The WTP began producing water for the City in 2021 with final completion in early 2022.

Our team was assembled based on a long working history together delivering water/wastewater design-build and design-build-operate projects in New England. As the team was already actively working on projects in Rhode Island the team was formed well before the project RFP was released. 

Team members from design and construction participated in regular review meetings during the design including construction team review and input on design deliverable. The design team had a full-time presence on site during construction to address any design questions and provide a direct and immediate line of contact to the engineer of record. 

The collective team including the design builder, owner, owner’s advisor, and regulatory agencies were part of transparent communication throughout the project. Monthly progress meetings were held with the project team to update the owner and RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) on the progress of the project, review project coordination, and discuss pertinent topics. In addition to monthly meetings, weekly onsite meetings were held with the owner and owner’s advisor to discuss ongoing work at the site. Representatives from the designer, builder, and owner’s advisor were present full time on the project site for day-to-day coordination and communication. During the design phase milestone deliverables were provided to the owner and regulatory agencies to allow for review and provide the opportunity for feedback. Specific milestone deliverable workshops were held to review specifics of review and provide additional coordination. 

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