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Jacobs Design-Build Water Projects in New Mexico, California Earn Coveted DBIA Awards

Client partnerships are the essential ingredient in achieving award-winning design-build water and wastewater projects across the United States.

Jacobs’, together with its clients the City of San José and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, were honored with the Design Build Institute of America’s (DBIA) National Merit awards in Water/Wastewater category. The awards are given annually to honor the nation’s best design-build projects and leaders. 

The Cogeneration Facility at the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility in California, and the Cutter Lateral Reach 21 Water Treatment Plant and Associated Items, Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project won National Merit awards. In addition, as a result of this honor, the projects were automatically nominees for the National Award of Excellence in the Water/Wastewater category, the highest honor within each category.

As an added honor, the Cogeneration Facility at the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility, was also one of three finalists for the Best in Design (Engineering) category.

The special awards were announced at the DBIA awards program on Nov. 2. Beyond earning the Design-Build National Award of Merit, Cutter Lateral Reach 21 Water Treatment Plant won the 2021 Design-Build National Award of Excellence in the Water/Wastewater category, the highest honor in that category as well as the DBIA Chairman’s Award for Community Impact & Social Responsibility.

“Jacobs has the privilege of working with the best clients across the globe who trust us with their most critical infrastructure projects,” says Jacobs Vice President, Design-Build Greg Fischer. “Our client partnerships are the essential ingredient in our achieving award-winning design-build water and wastewater projects. I am especially humbled to receive the Chairman’s Award for Community Impact & Social Responsibility. This is why we do the work we do – to make our world a better place. I thank the City of San José and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for giving us the opportunity to make an impact in the communities they serve -- where our staff live, work and raise their families.”

Earlier this year, the Cutter Lateral Reach 21 project received a Project Merit: Climate Change Adaptation & Resilience from the Climate Change Business Journal for addressing critical adaptation, resilience and environmental justice issues.

Both projects also parallel Jacobs’ OneWater approach to infrastructure planning, reflecting a broader trend that urban wastewater management should consider three interrelated, people-focused realms — engineering and urban planning, economic, and social equity and justice.

Read more about the DBIA award-winning projects below.

An inside look at the Cogeneration Facility
An inside-look at the Cogeneration Facility at the SJSCWRF, showing engine-generator systems – from left to right, generators, engines, gas blending, with emissions control equipment elevated above.

Designing and building the largest advanced wastewater treatment facility in the Western U.S.

Jacobs served as the design-builder for the Cogeneration Facility at the Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility (SJSCRWF) —one of the largest cogeneration facilities in the U.S. The 14-MW Cogeneration Facility provides reliable on-site power and heat, replacing aging cogeneration equipment at the wastewater facility and powers the entire facility.

Completed in 25 months, this project was delivered using a Progressive Design-Build approach and consists of advanced generation internal combustion engines selected based on their low capital cost, high electrical efficiency, and availability of high-grade heat for the anaerobic digestion tanks. New engines will help the SJSCRWF meet projected power demands and allow the largest advanced wastewater facility in the western U.S. to continue cleaning wastewater for the San Francisco South Bay area uninterrupted. The engines will maximize the use of available digester gas, blended with natural gas, to generate and meet on-site power requirements with future potential of using additional available landfill gas.

The Cogeneration Facility project scope included a new digester gas treatment system, control system and monitoring system with connectivity to the Wastewater Facility’s Distributed Control System, electrical switchgear, various additional appurtenances in support of the engines and building, a new digester gas pipeline and natural gas pipeline, new heat recovery systems, civil work including parking areas and utilities, and a new administration building for plant staff.

During the treatment process, the digesters break down sludge using microorganisms which produce gas to run the cogeneration engines.  The Cogeneration Facility is sized to produce 100% of the energy needed to operate the wastewater facility.

“The SJSCRWF Cogeneration Facility is a great example of how Jacobs collaborates with owners to make best-for project decisions, balancing life-cycle costs, with operations, social, economic, and environmental objectives” says Jacobs Project Manager Enrique Ramos.

Jacobs also worked closely with the City of San José during construction to implement Covid-19 protocols onsite and maintain excellent safety performance, achieving a total Recordable Incident Rate of 0.77 (against an industry average of 1.0) and a Days Away/Restricted Time rate of 0.00 (against an industry average of 2.3). Additionally, the highly complex components were started and commissioned with technical experts being offsite in Germany and the U.S.

Cutter
This view of the Cutter Lateral Reach 21 project is looking West towards the finished water transmission main near the base of the Huerfano Mesa.

Providing water and rejuvenating communities within the Navajo Nation

Jacobs also served as the design-builder for Cutter Lateral Reach 21—a main feature of the NGWSP for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Navajo Nation, located in northwest New Mexico. The State of New Mexico and Navajo Nation considered this essential work for long-term viability. This was also the first-ever water/wastewater design-build project undertaken by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

With Jacobs as the design-build lead, the 3.5-MGD greenfield project – which involves the treatment and conveyance of water from Cutter Reservoir – provides a clean, reliable and long-term water source for the Navajo and Jicarilla Apache Nations communities along the Cutter Lateral. The dependable water supply will enable potential areas of growth and development including commercial, community facilities, wellness centers and medical facilities, as well as housing developments.  As of May 2021, 8 Navajo chapters resulting in approximately 6,000 people or 1,500 households are now receiving drinking water from the water treatment plant. 

In addition to a state-of-the-art water treatment plant, work under this contract included design and construction of a clearwell, treated water pumping station, chemical, operation and maintenance facilities and over 21,400 feet of raw, treated, and finished water pipelines. This completed project now provides a long-term water sources to the Navajo and Jicarilla Apache Nation communities.

“The relationships our Jacobs team forged with our subcontractors and the business acumen demonstrated by our team with the client defined our initial project charter signed by all parties in 2018 through final completion in Spring 2021," says Jacobs Project Manager Ted Michaelidis. “This was especially significant, with this being the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s first-ever water/wastewater design-build project.”

Cultural Sensitivity was very important for the project and client. The project is located on Federal lands inside the Navajo Nation at the base of the Huerfano Mesa, a very sacred and spiritual site for the Navajo people. Before the project earthwork began, the entire site was blessed by a Navajo Nation Medicine Man during a blessing ceremony attended by representatives from the Navajo Nation, Bureau of Reclamation, Jacobs and other stakeholders. The Jacobs team worked with the Navajo Nation to introduce the ashes from the blessing ceremony into the Treated Water Pump Station subgrade under the bottom mat of rebar prior to the first concrete placement. The great partnership allowed the local stakeholders to commemorate and honor the cultural sensitivity of the area. 

The Cutter Reach 21 WTP project has been delivered with over 400,000 work-hours with no lost time since the construction project notice to proceed (NTP) in Oct 2018. This project was completed with no schedule impacts, even though equipment and supply deliveries were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Adhering to Jacobs’ COVID-19 Action Plan, work on the project site was done in a safe manner without any known COVID-19 infections (craft and non-craft workers). 

The Cutter Lateral Reach 21 WTP is a critical component of the Eastern Navajo Nation for reliable safe, potable drinking water.

About DBIA

The DBIA is the true authority on Design-Build Done Right®. Comprised of architectural, engineering, and construction professionals, as well as academics, students, and project Owners, its members collaborate and innovate to deliver some of America’s most successful projects. DBIA’s National Project/Team awards are given annually to projects that exemplify the principles of Design-Build Done Right®. Entries compete for the following honors: Design-Build Merit Award, Design-Build Awards of Excellence, Chairman’s Award and Project of the Year.

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