Skip to main content
Breaking News: New Leadership Announcements Following CEO Selection  Read More

Aided by Black & Veatch, Atlanta Water Project Wins Coveted Engineering News-Record Top Prize

$320-million water storage, tunnelling effort grabs influential publication’s ‘Award of Merit’ in water, wastewater category

Exemplifying resilience, sustainability and collaboration, a massive, $320-million project aided by Black & Veatch to bolster Atlanta’s strained water supply has won top honors as the Engineering News-Record’s water and wastewater global and Southeast project of the year. Black & Veatch served as owner’s engineer and supplied resident engineering, structural guidance and tunneling, mechanical, electrical and plumbing expertise.

The 2021 “award of merit” in the publication’s ninth annual “Global Best Projects” contest recognizes the repurposing of the former Bellwood rock quarry as a 2.4-billion-gallon raw water storage site for eventual use as drinking water in the city. Mined through hard bedrock, a complementary five-mile-long tunnel – 400 feet deep and 12.5 feet in diameter – now connects the city’s two water treatment plants and the quarry, along with two pump station sites.

Years before construction began, a 2007-2008 drought spurred Atlanta to begin considering a water source to supplement its drinking water supply, the Chattahoochee River. Months before it even was commissioned in December 2020, the project demonstrated its value when Atlanta administrators turned to the reservoir to stave off a city-wide emergency after a major water line failed.

The Engineering News-Record said the industry judges chose 33 winning projects from 20 countries from a record number of entries for the global prizes, with “these exemplary projects” underscoring the risks and rewards – and the obstacles overcome – in designing and building internationally. Criteria included design and construction challenges, benefits to the local community, and dedication to quality, innovation and safety, with a special emphasis on the diversity of global project teams and their collaboration, the publication has reported.

In winning top honors in the Southeast, the project was among 95 entries judged and three dozen chosen for recognition.

“This years-long project truly signifies the role of collaboration and resolve in overcoming substantial technical issues to realize Atlanta’s vision of a more sustainable water supply for its citizenry and economy,” said Stephen Simpson, client services director at Black & Veatch.

River to Tap and Stantec Joint Venture served as the project’s lead design firm and civil engineers, with PC Construction and H.J. Russell & Co. as construction managers. Black & Veatch acted as the owner’s advisor during the construction, leading the construction quality control and inspection team during the tunneling and facility construction through project facility commissioning.

Some 280 acres of land adjacent to the new reservoir transformed out of the granite quarry, which ceased operation in 2007, has been transformed into $44-million Westside Park, complete with walking and bike trails, playgrounds and pavilions.

Editor’s Notes:

  • Other honors bestowed upon the Atlanta Water Supply Project include the 2021 top award in the new utility infrastructure category of Construction Risk Partners’ “Build America Awards.” The project also won first place in the water, wastewater and utility category of the Construction Management Association of America’s 2021 “Project Achievement Awards.”
  • For more about Black & Veatch solutions involving water supply and treatment, click here .

About Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch is a 100-percent employee-owned global engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company with a more than 100-year track record of innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people around the world by addressing the resilience and reliability of our most important infrastructure assets. Our revenues in 2021 exceeded US$3.3 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and on social media.

Media Contact Information:

JIM SUHR | +1 913-458-6995 P | +1 314-422-6927 M | SuhrJ@BV.com
24-HOUR MEDIA HOTLINE | +1 855-999-5991

We seek partners in innovation. Let's start the conversation.