SVCW Commission Actions Advance Gravity Pipeline Project, Update CIP Spending

The Silicon Valley Clean Water (SVCW) Commission Thursday (October 5, 2017) approved a design-build agreement which will advance the gravity pipeline project to be constructed by tunneling methods from the north edge of Inner Bair Island to the proposed new Front of the Plant (FoP) facilities at the treatment plant at 1400 Radio Road. Part of the tunneling will be under Redwood Shores Parkway.

The nearly $8 million contract was issued to Barnard-Bessac Joint Venture (with ARUP as the design engineer). This agreement is to bring the gravity pipeline design from its current 10 percent to 60 percent design and includes preparation and
negotiation of pricing for Stage 2. The second stage then inc ludes completing the design and construction of the gravity pipeline project. Stage 2 will be brought to the Commission for approval at the appropriate time.

It is anticipated that the schedule for the gravity pipeline design and construction will take from fall 2017 through summer 2022. The current schedule for the FoP facilities design and construction span from fall 2017 to fall 2022. A design-build agreement on this project will be brought before the Commission in November. The project includes a Receiving Lift Station, a Headworks, an Influent Connector Pipeline, and other support facilities.

Both projects are part of SVCW’s Regional Environmental Sewer Conveyance Upgrade (RESCU) program, with the gravity pipeline project estimated cost of $220 million and the FoP project estimated at $93 million. They are major projects in SVCW’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) 2017 plan update, which the Commission adopted Thursday.

SVCW’s first CIP was adopted by the Commission in May 2008. Over the past nine years, many major projects have been undertaken and completed and the CIP is now a long-term rolling process to keep SVCW facilities in good operating condition and performing intended services.

The CIP project objectives are:


  • Replace the existing wastewater infrastructure and other improvements to the conveyance system to ensure reliable operation of the overall wastewater conveyance system in accordance with San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) permit conditions.
  • Reduce the likelihood of spills and discharges of untreated sewage to the surrounding environment, which has occurred numerous times with the existing 45-year-old concrete sewer force main that operates above its design pressure.
  • Implement a project that minimizes adverse environmental effects; adverse impacts to public health and private property owners; utility interference and disruption during construction; and short-term and long-term costs.
  • Improve plant process reliability, and increase operational readiness.
  • Meet future regulatory requirements imposed by the RWQCB for nutrients discharged into the San Francisco Bay.

The current update to the CIP includes information regarding the status of projects already identified, newly identified projects, updates estimated project costs and timing, indicates completed projects and provides corresponding budgets for each. The CIP also includes consideration of necessary California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) actions for projects from inception (2008) through the fiscal year 2024-2025.

Approximately $239 million has been spent on capital projects to date. The 2017 CIP update approved by the Commission estimates costs at $834 million. $595 million remains to be spent, which will be financed using a defined long-term strategy. Since SVCW member agency (Belmont, Redwood City, San Carlos, West Bay Sanitary) sewer rates provide the underlying repayment security for this financing, SVCW annually updates its Long Range Financial Plan as a roadmap for funding the CIP. A revised LRFP will be presented to the member agencies for incorporation into their respective budgets and rate strategies in January 2018.

Besides issuing the design-build agreement to Barnard-Bessac Joint Ventures, the Commission also approved task orders for Kennedy/Jenks for owner engineering advisor services and Tanner Pacific for construction management/quality assurance services associated with Stage 1 work of the gravity pipeline project.

Examples of projects undertaken by Barnard

  1. At the Central Subway Tunnel Project in the heart of San Francisco, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) set out to improve transit options for a densely populated neighborhood known for high public transportation ridership while also furthering business development along the new 1.7-mile rail line. Building twin subway tunnels is never simple, in mission or in undertaking. Building these subway tunnels under a city that’s been well established since the “Gold Rush” of the 1800s has meant confronting plenty of structural and historical challenges underground in addition to the soft ground and hard rock soil conditions. The Central Subway Tunnel project broadens access to Chinatown from neighborhoods served by an earlier phase of SFMTA’s overall Light Rail Program while also supporting tourism and business development along the busy 3rd Street corridor via four new stations.
  2. The Orange County Sanitation District in Southern California needed to upgrade its sewer line, yet did not want to inconvenience area commuters by closing one of the area’s busiest thoroughfares, so they hired our Barnard Team to construct 1.1 miles of tunnel through extremely challenging soils. Our solution was to combine TBM mining with hand-mining as well as to construct mixed linings based on the soil conditions. The project also included launch and retrieval shafts as well as five manhole shafts, all in very tight right-of-way conditions on the main thoroughfare connecting Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, California. Barnard conducted the work with minor traffic disruptions, in part as a result of our innovative installation of the five, 11-foot-diameter manholes, accomplished by drilling the casing, placing concrete in the floor slab with a tremie chute, setting the manholes, and then using slurry to hold the manholes in place. Barnard conquered groundwater and running soil conditions by hand-mining select areas. Dewatering without settlement posed another challenge our team overcame.

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