City moves forward with Toledo Waterways InitiativeWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The City of Toledo is proceeding with Phase II of the Toledo Waterways Initiative (TWI) mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve water quality in 400 communities across the country.
“TWI is a solution to the EPA’s requirements and not to the flooding and back-ups but we hope these solutions will help resolve those problems as well,” said George Robinson, commissioner of the Toledo Waterways Initiative and City of Toledo Department of Public Utilities.
The total cost of the water control and treatment projects in Toledo is estimated at nearly $500 million. The local price tag compares with much higher costs in other nearby cities, such as $800 million for Akron, $1.2 billion each for Cincinnati, Cleveland and Detroit, according to Robinson.
The voters approved the original consent decree for the water remediation projects required by the EPA in 2002. Robinson said the city is receiving federal and state funds from grants and loans to pay for the cost of the projects upfront.
The customers, area users of Toledo’s water system, will repay those loans with a portion of their water bills designated for those projects. The city has secured some additional grants for the project to reduce the cost to those customers, said Robinson.
Phase I of the initiative involved adding 200 million gallons per day of capacity with improvements to the Bay View Wastewater Treatment Plant completed in 2008. The additional capacity with two processes and treatable storage eliminated bypassing the flow of sanitary sewer and storm water.
Phase II of the initiative involves a long-term control plan designed to meet federal and state water quality standards for rivers and streams, while improving water quality for recreation and aquatic life, Robinson explained.
This plan includes 25 neighborhood projects in the City of Toledo from 2010 to 2020. It was submitted to the EPA in 2005 as part of the 2002 consent decree and revised in a modified consent decree signed in May 2010, said Robinson.
“We’re trying to attack this as strategically as we can while abiding by the consent decree negotiated with the EPA,” Robinson said.
“The modified decree eliminated some projects that we thought were not necessary, gave us four more years for completing the projects and put us in a more finite cost range for construction of those projects,” he said.
This phase includes creating storage basins to capture and store storm water until it can be released into the system for proper treatment. It also involves building new storage tunnels and improving existing tunnels to handle large storm water flows.
The largest project will be the downtown storage tunnel system at an estimated cost of $44 million that will begin in January 2013 and be completed in 2015, said Robinson.
The final and perhaps largest piece of the waterways initiative is reducing the combined sewer overflows (CSOs) that are currently being released into area creeks, the Ottawa and Maumee Rivers.
A study conducted of the storm and sanitary sewer systems helped to determine how much overflow was being discharged during a variety of rain events that occur. It showed there are 34 locations where combined sewers could overflow and seven locations where sanitary sewers can overflow into the collection system.
The first and one of the largest sewer separation projects is the Lockwood-DeVilbiss project currently underway in West Toledo along Berdan and Sylvania Avenues. The project that began earlier this year will cost about $15 million with completion scheduled for summer of 2012.
“We want to minimize the disturbance to the neighborhoods as much as possible. We have not received many complaints from the residents of that area,” said Robinson.
The City of Toledo held informational meetings for the residents of that neighborhood before construction began, he said.
Four additional sewer separation projects are scheduled to begin in 2011 including locations on Ash and Wheeling Streets, Highland and Woodsdale Avenues in Toledo.
Commitment to a team approach is essential to the successful completion of the Toledo Waterways Initiative, according to Robinson.
He is working closely with Robin Whitney, commissioner of the Division of Engineering Services for the City of Toledo, on projects for the Toledo Waterways Initiative. She and her staff oversee the design and construction of the projects with the contractors involved.
“It’s a great green initiative to clean-up our waterways and it’s an economic boon to the city and local economy with the money invested in these projects,” said Whitney.
She cited the City of Toledo making improvements to the sewer infrastructure at a cost of $20 million for storm water projects since 2001. The city spent $3 million on the Shanty Creek project in 2007-08 to prevent surface flooding and sewer back-ups that plagued the Crawford Road area.
Projects provide jobs for local firms, workers
As part of the commitment to the city, an economic development contract was approved that requires 90 percent of the work on the Toledo Waterways Initiative be done locally with at least 50 percent performed by local firms and 10 percent by minority businesses.
The Toledo office of Black & Veatch Corporation was selected as program manager of the Toledo Waterways Initiative in 2002 due to its national expertise in infrastructure engineering and design.
The program manager oversees all design, engineering, planning with all contracted sub-consultants on the projects, including local firms Arcadis, Stantec, Tetra Tech, G. Stephens, Northwest Consultants, and Rhodes & Associates.
“We oversee all construction work to assure it meets the design documents,” said Robert Harbron, program manager for Black & Veatch on the TWI.
There are as many as 40 to 50 workers from various companies involved on the projects, said Harbron.
The City of Toledo also contracted with the Mannik & Smith Group of Maumee in 2002 to serve as a third party oversight engineer to work with Black & Veatch on the projects, said Dean Niese, chief operating officer at Mannik & Smith.
“We provide an extra set of eyes and ears on these projects working closely with the city administration, all contractors and subcontractors,” said Bob Williams, senior project engineer at Mannik & Smith.
Jones & Henry Engineers of Toledo has as many as 25 employees working on design work for two of the projects, according to Gregg Simon, director of civil engineering for the firm and program director for its work on the TWI.
Jones & Henry has provided design work for the Lockwood-DeVilbiss sewer separation in West Toledo and Ash-Columbus storage tunnels in North Toledo. Simon said the company plans to bid on additional projects this summer for work to begin in 2011.
The Toledo office of Arcadis provided final design work on Phase I and continues to provide it for Phase II projects such as the Maumee CSO basin. As many as 10 to 12 employees in the local office have worked on the TWI, according to Robert Stevenson, water source manager for that office.
Stantec is providing detailed engineering design and studies for the storm water and sanitary sewer projects of the initiative, according to Adam Hoff, civil engineer and principal of the Toledo firm.
“The TWI program has been helpful to us in sustaining our staff of 13 professionals,” Hoff said.
Tetra Tech of Toledo was involved in the design and construction for the Bay View treatment plant in Phase I, according to Jamie Brescol, project manager.
The company worked as a team member on the development of the long term control plan and is currently involved in preliminary design work for Phase II projects, said Andy Langenderfer, program manager.
Northwest Consultants, Inc. of Toledo is providing civil and structural engineering services for the waterways projects. NCI is recognized as both a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Minority Business Enterprise by agencies in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana.
Polytech of Cleveland, a minority business partner with an office in Toledo, is performing technical review on the projects with Mannik & Smith.
Rhodes & Associates, Inc. of Toledo is providing mechanical and electrical engineering for the TWI.
Hart Associates, a marketing and communications firm in Maumee, is working with the city on the public outreach for the Toledo Waterways Initiative.