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June 5, 2020

ACEC Wisconsin Engineering Excellence Award for South Milwaukee Water Utility

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The South Milwaukee Water Utility and Donohue & Associates received an American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Wisconsin 2020 Engineering Excellence State Finalist Award for the New Clearwells and High Service Pump Station project.

Built in 1910, the South Milwaukee Water Plant is the oldest water filtration facility in the state. The Utility had been operating with two in-ground clearwells (north and south) connected to a high service pump station that provided finished water to the distribution system. The WDNR determined that these clearwells were not compliant with current code.

Donohue successfully addressed these challenges by developing a robust, cost-effective, and neighbor-friendly solution. The work included modifications to increase the speed of existing membrane feed pumps, demolition of flocculation/sedimentation basins currently used as raw water storage, construction of two new pre-stressed concrete clearwells and a 6-million-gallon-per-day high service pump station. The project reused the existing high service pump station structure for new electrical facilities, repurposed the existing north and south clearwells for intake flushing/raw water storage and upgraded the plant’s control system network. Taking advantage of existing structures and developing a hydraulic design that allowed the reuse of existing equipment saved over $10 million.

Significant effort was invested to ensure the solutions developed were neighbor friendly. The Utility is located in a residential area with a scenic overlook of Lake Michigan. The height of the new tanks maintain the current Lake Michigan view for residents and are aesthetically pleasing.  The adjacent sledding hill was also preserved for the residents winter recreational enjoyment.

Maintaining the health and safety of the residents is of paramount importance and required continuous water operations throughout construction of this complex project.  This challenge was met with creative construction sequencing and constraints developed by the team. Doug Fischer, Utility Superintendent remarked, “Through the diligence of Donohue & Associates staff, this significant construction project came in on time and under budget with minimal disruption to day to day operations of our utility.”

Engineering Excellence awards recognize quality engineering achievements. Entries are judged on the basis of excellence in design, the degree to which the client’s needs are met, as well as benefit to the public welfare and to engineering practices. Learn more at www.acecwi.org.

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