Black & Veatch awarded as design-builder for wastewater treatment plant modernizations in Salina, Kansas | Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch awarded as design-builder for wastewater treatment plant modernizations in Salina, Kansas

Black & Veatch awarded as design-builder for wastewater treatment plant modernizations in Salina, Kansas

Project Name
Salina Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Project
Salina, Kansas
City of Salina, Kansas

Why is this project necessary?

The existing wastewater treatment plant in Salina, Kansas, was originally constructed in 1926, and its most recent major upgrade was completed almost 30 years ago. The treatment plant serves many essential purposes including preliminary screening, grit removal, primary clarification, secondary treatment, and ultraviolet disinfection. Biosolids, a beneficial byproduct of wastewater treatment, are produced annually for use by surrounding farmland. Currently serving about 46,000 community members and capable of treating 7.25 million gallons per day (MGD), the wastewater treatment plant is not designed for modern biological nutrient removal (BNR) requirements and some plant buildings and equipment are beyond their useful life. The Salina Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Project includes upgrades needed to meet regulatory nutrient limits, regulatory permit compliance and address aging facilities to maintain plant operations. The city of Salina has decided to contract these modernizations under the progressive design-build delivery method.

Why was Black & Veatch selected?

Black & Veatch competed in a two-step Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and Request for Proposals (RFP) public procurement process in pursuit of the Salina Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Project. Black & Veatch, operating under our Overland Contracting Inc. (OCI) business entity, was selected as the design-builder to provide full engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services based on our best-value qualifications and experience. We promoted a very transparent, open-book bidding process that provides benefits to the city of Salina.

“I appreciate the transparent and collaborative efforts of the Black & Veatch team. Their technical expertise and ability to establish a detailed and accurate price in the current market conditions has set us up to successfully deliver this project.”

-- Martha Tasker, Director of Utilities, City of Salina

On progressive design-build projects, work typically is split into engineering and preconstruction services (Phase 1) and construction (Phase 2). Based on the unique nature of this project, Black & Veatch worked with the city of Salina to further break down the first phase into Phase 1A and phase 1B. This flexibility allowed us to come up with a preliminary basis of design before proposing a more detailed cost estimate, enabling effective budget control and a more tailored scope. The Black & Veatch team also conducted extensive market research prior to procurement; we assessed the quality of the bidding pool by reaching out to over 50 local contractors with 12 subcontract packages. All competitively bid packages (96.7 percent of the total construction cost) received at least two bids and were evaluated based on their technical qualifications and commercial compliance. Our team implemented a risk register as the primary tool for assessment and contingency development, and our customized escalation model will continue to be updated quarterly.

“Partnering with the city of Salina to meet their regulatory and rehabilitation needs for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Project is an opportunity to advance Black & Veatch’s mission to improve water quality and essential human infrastructure within our home state of Kansas.”

--James Greenyer, Design-Build Delivery Director, Black & Veatch

What is included in the project scope?

  • Black & Veatch’s scope as the design-builder for the Salina Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Project includes the following key elements:

  • Reconfiguration of existing aeration basins to a modern BNR system that meets new standards (compliance with the EPA’s NPDES permit requirements)

  • Implementation of chemical dosing processes for phosphorus removal

  • Simultaneous nitrification-denitrification (SND) modifications for BNR basins, including fine bubble diffusers, top entry mixers and banana blade mixers

  • Air control and piping modifications for the blower building

  • BNR process motor control center (MCC) for electrical building

  • Rehabilitation of existing Clarifiers 1 through 3 and new Clarifier 4

  • Ferric chloride (outdoor bulk storage system with feed pumps), polymer feed (tote storage with feeder blenders), and odor control fan modifications for chemical feed process at gravity belt thickener (GBT) building

  • Rehabilitation of all electrical equipment in digester control building to meet classified space ratings (compliance with current code requirements)

  • Replacement of mechanical equipment and sludge flow modifications

  • Construction of new building to host two boilers and heating water pumps

  • Installation of new sludge gas handling equipment

  • Installation of new cover and linear motion mixer, tank rehabilitation, and supernatant boxes for Digester 1 and 2

What have been the biggest challenges so far?

Market volatility has been a huge challenge for the Salina Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Project. Supply chains and associated costs have been heavily impacted due to COVID-19, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, long lead times for materials, and labor shortages. To mitigate this, Black & Veatch is carrying contingency to cover six to eight months of additional escalation. Our team is working to complete project buyout as quickly as possible to get ahead of further price increases. We also are carrying an additional contingency to cover potential supply chain delays and delaying site mobilization by two months to strategically reassess the construction schedule based on the potential delays. Black & Veatch has established additional mitigation plans specifically for electrical equipment delays, and we’ve built four months of float time into the back end of the schedule for unforeseen conditions that may arise.

What is next for the project?

After assembling supporting documents and obtaining approval, Black & Veatch recently finalized negotiations on our contract terms with the city of Salina. Our team achieved 90 percent design status and established the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) in August 2022; we were awarded the notice to proceed (NTP) in February 2023. Total phosphorus nutrient removal compliance is on track for June 2024, total nitrogen removal compliance is expected May 2025, and substantial completion is scheduled for October 2025.

Black & Veatch is ranked by ENR as one of the top design-build firms in the country. Learn more about our project delivery expertise here.

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