- The East Valley Water District in Highland, California, named Balfour Beatty the agency's design-build partner for construction of the $126 million Sterling Natural Resource Center wastewater treatment facility. The water district issued the Balfour Beatty-led team, which includes Arcadis, a $2 million contract for initial design and permitting until a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) for the full design and construction can be established.
- The group, which also includes Ruhnau Clarke Architects, Trussell Technologies, WSP and Inframark, will design and construct the facility so that it produces water to recharge the natural groundwater aquifer, the Bunker Hill Groundwater Basin. The Sterling plant will also include a community center that provides education, entertainment and leisure opportunities. The facility will be able to first treat eight million gallons of water each day, with the capability to expand to 10 million gallons a day, and will create a new habitat for endangered fish.
- In May, the water district announced that it had secured the $126 million for the project through the California State Water Resources Control Board, which was able to take advantage of $119 million in low-interest state loans and almost $7 million in state grants. Work is set to begin later this year and is expected to create about 800 temporary construction jobs across three years.
Water infrastructure in the U.S. is in desperate need of investment according to the American Society of Civil Engineers' last report card. The organization gave a D to the systems that carry the country's drinking water and a D+ to the state of the nation's wastewater treatment plants. The society said there are 1 million miles of pipes transporting drinking water around the country and that much of the system was installed in the early to mid-1900s, meaning that those pipes are at or past their useful life. This has led to about 240,000 water main breaks every year, which wastes about two trillion gallons of drinkable water. To make all the necessary repairs would cost about $1 trillion.
U.S. population growth is straining the country's wastewater treatment plants, the proper function of which is critical to public health. The ASCE estimates that it will take $271 billion to meet plant demand in the next 20 years.
The need for improved water infrastructure was underscored this summer when the Environmental Protection Agency last month reported that it had received a record number of letters of interest for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. The letters represented more than $9 billion in funding needs, which is double the agency's loan capacity. The EPA estimates that drinking water and wastewater infrastructure needs in the U.S. total $743 billion.