For more than 50 years, Earth Day has been held every April 22, marking a worldwide event to support environmental protection. For the leaders of Haskell’s Water Division, it’s an occasion to appreciate accomplishments and anticipate possibilities.
Even though 2022 finds the planet’s ecosystem under greater environmental stress than ever before, Bryan Bedell, Haskell Vice President and Water Division Leader, and Jason Kirk, Water Market Leader for the Eastern Region, expressed belief in the sustainable One Water concept and confidence that their team was making a measurable difference.
For example, two biosolid-waste-to-energy projects tell a single, uplifting story.
Biosolids are a natural byproduct of the wastewater treatment process. Historically, the tons of solid waste are dumped in a landfill or incinerated. But at the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the Frederick-Winchester Service Authority Green Energy Facility in Virginia, modifications enabled the removal of siloxanes, hydrogen sulfide and other noxious substances to produce two highly desirable products:
“It started through a collaboration on how to optimize facilities to run more efficiently,” Bedell said. “In the instance of Winchester, the cost of upgrades we did were underwritten by the energy and cost savings they realized at the facility. Similarly, the City of St. Petersburg is seeing significant savings, both through energy savings and lower hauling costs because they’re making their own power and their biosolids costs dropped precipitously.”
These facilities exemplify the innovation is critical as governments and industry prepare for more frequent and significant hurricanes, floods, drought, water scarcity, sea-level rise and general climate uncertainty. And this with infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers assigns the following grades:
These facilities also address the fact that the treatment of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater all boil down to simply the treatment of water. Whether it’s in the Western U.S., which is enduring the worst drought in more than 1,200 years, or other areas of the globe where so-called 1-in-100-year floods are happening so often that the term may change, a holistic One Water approach is the key to reversing deteriorating environmental trends.
“The One Water concept is that all the water we're ever going to have on the earth is already here,” Bedell said. “There is no more water. Both the east and the west of the U.S. need to lean into that.
“Each specific project that we do across the country is an opportunity to better treat water in the entirety of the lifecycle. It may be a drinking water facility for potable use. It may be a wastewater facility to clean it so it can be returned to the environment. Then the third piece that we're starting to do and has the potential for direct potable reuse, where we're cleaning up the water that’s been through a wastewater plant to be able to be consumable again.
“The big takeaway is that we’re looking at water from the holistic view that it's not a drinking water problem, not a wastewater problem, not a stormwater problem. It's just a water problem.”
Before joining Haskell in 2018, Kirk, the Eastern Water Market Leader, retired from the U.S. Army as Colonel, having served as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville, Florida, District Commander. In that role, he not only authored Climate Change: Considerations for Geographic Combatant Commands, he led the federal portion of the federal-state Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), the world’s largest aquatic ecosystem restoration project.
CERP projects, Kirk said, will improve either the quality, quantity, timing or distribution (QQTD) of water – or a combination thereof. Those factors apply in the One Water world as a whole.
“The problem set and ultimately the solution in public works infrastructure is the same, whether it's the larger-scale systems, water resources and infrastructure managed by the state water management districts or the Army Corps of Engineers, or it's more local infrastructure managed by cities, their public works departments and their utilities,” he said. “As you manage water, you're always addressing the quality for the environment and people's consumption, the quantity for environmental benefits and people's consumption, and the timing and distribution, which is about getting the right amounts of water to the right places at the right time – in a growing season for agriculture or a nesting season or wildlife or for people’s recreation.”
The variety of Haskell projects to which Bedell refers buttress those points:
In Southeast Jacksonville, JEA's "H2.0 Purification Demonstration Project" will diversify the quantity of water supply in Northeast Florida, further validating innovative technology that enables recharging the aquifer with purified reclaimed water that exceeds drinking water standards. Issues: Quality and quantity
Each of these projects addresses water from a different angle and produces a different outcome. The two constants are that each addresses One Water, and each benefits from one of Haskell’s methods of integrated project delivery, be it Design-Build, Progressive Design-Build (PDB) or Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR). Each is suited to the critical and immediate need for infrastructure, as they are effective in expediting design and construction of critical projects and maximizing the dollars invested.
Haskell is a pioneer in Design-Build delivery, in which the project owner signs one contract with one entity to provide architectural, engineering and construction services. Once considered an alternative delivery method, Design-Build now accounts for 44 percent of all construction spending.
The reasons for design-build’s growing popularity are numerous:
Progressive Design-Build (PDB) is a phased, or progressive, application of the design-build delivery method. The owner selects the design-builder based on qualifications or best-value selection, then together they work toward a design and contract price. The design-builder delivers the project in two distinct phases: Phase 1 includes pricing-level design development, preconstruction services and the negotiation of a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) for Phase 2, which comprises final design, construction and commissioning.
In CMAR delivery method, the designer works directly for the project owner, who benefits from incorporating a contractor’s perspective and input during design and planning. This arrangement allows the owner to maintain a direct contractual tie to the designer but benefit from early integration and collaboration with the builder to drive innovation and creativity.
“Everybody in this market plays in design-build, and everybody plays in Construction Manager at Risk. But that’s all we do. We don't do hard-bid work. We're more nimble, and we're more capable to be able to rapidly respond to projects throughout from beginning to end.
“On every single job, we bring value during preconstruction through our experience, through our good ideas, through our ability to conceptually estimate accurately. Given the injection of funding that's coming through the infrastructure package, we're in a good position to help owners to be able to best utilize those dollars because we can respond so quickly.”
The talent and know-how start at the top with Bedell and Kirk, but it extends deep into the organization.
It’s there at the project management level, with Directors of Project Development and Project Managers, such as Mike Hoisington, who quarterback each project.
It’s there throughout an outstanding team of Project Superintendents, such as Frankie McGee, who make magic out of the chaos of the jobsite.
It’s there throughout the corps of Permanent Craft Employees (PCEs) who expedite excellence with their self-perform skillsets.
And it’s there throughout brilliant designers, engineers and technological support teams that create elegant and efficient solutions to complex environmental challenges.
“We're leaning in heavily on the use of technology in the water industry,” Bedell said. “We're well positioned in that all of our people are trained to be able to be creative. Everybody's empowered to be creative. Often, firms will do something because that’s how they've always done them, but that’s going to provide a historical solution. We provide the best and the most relevant solution, not the historical solution.”
Contact Haskell’s Water Team to discuss applying its deep understanding and extensive breadth of resources to solve pressing infrastructure needs.
Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,000 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.
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