The ongoing Pure Water Program will locally provide nearly half of San Diego’s water supply by the end of 2035. This multi-phase program uses proven water purification technology to clean recycled water and deliver a reliable, sustainable supply of high-quality drinking water. Phase 1 of the program, with construction of the facilities currently overseen by Black & Veatch’s construction management team along with our joint venture partner Parsons, consists of multiple projects that will provide 30 million gallons per day. The overall program is the largest integrated infrastructure program ever taken on by the city of San Diego. The water purification process will include ozonation, biological activated carbon, membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and UV/advanced oxidation.
Why is the Pure Water Program being built?
Extreme drought conditions and the increasing cost of water are pervasive problems for municipalities throughout California, including the city of San Diego. San Diego imports 85 percent of its water from the Northern California Bay Delta and the Colorado River, the cost of which has tripled in the past 15 years. As a region more vulnerable to droughts and natural disasters such as wildfires and earthquakes, the city wanted to take water resource management into its own hands rather than relying on other dwindling supplies. The city decided to strategically implement the Pure Water Program to secure a local and resilient water supply for current residents and future generations. Phase 1 construction activities began to ramp up in July 2018 and are expected to be completed by 2025.
What strengths does Black & Veatch offer?
“Over the past 40 years, Black & Veatch has delivered capital improvement programs for the city of San Diego with professionalism, integrity and leadership,” said Kevin Davis, a Black & Veatch vice president and project director. “Our ongoing commitment to our core values and the highly talented professionals on our construction management team made it easy for the city to select us for this prestigious and highly contested assignment. I’m proud to be a part of such an amazing team,”
The city of San Diego chose Black & Veatch as their construction manager for the Phase 1 Pure Water Facilities due to several advantages we offered:
Team experience. Several of our proposed team members had worked on San Diego’s previous largest capital improvement program, the Clean Water development. Our team also demonstrated alternative water reuse expertise, including the membrane treatment process. We have an extensive history of managing water treatment plants during construction.
Depth of technical resources. As a global engineering firm, we offered deep technical resources and field knowledge. Our experienced startup and commissioning professionals aligned with the city of San Diego’s operations and maintenance (O&M) staff, clearly explaining how we would get their facilities up and running as a seamless program.
Key differentiators. We spent years prepping and pre-positioning ourselves for this competitively sourced project, frequently meeting with the client to get a better understanding of their objectives and what they were looking for in a partner. Even after the project was delayed several years, upon award we still provided the city of San Diego with the same team we proposed — exemplifying our commitment to the relationships we'd established over the years and the integrity of our company.
Black & Veatch is providing construction management services for the new Pure Water Facility, North City Water Reclamation Plant expansion, North City Pure Water Facility and pump station, and Metropolitan Biosolids Center Improvements.
“We’re currently managing 10 task orders for various services across six active construction projects with a combined value of over $700 million,” said Eric Sturtz, construction manager advisor with Black & Veatch.
Additional program elements managed by Black & Veatch are scheduled to start in 2023, including a new state-of-the art demonstration facility for Phase 2.
“The Black & Veatch team continues to push the performance, quality and safety of the Pure Water development to exceed our reputation as an industry-leading company,” said John Scherck, a Black & Veatch Construction operations manager.
What challenges have we faced so far?
Similar to all construction projects executed in the past few years, the Black & Veatch team has been faced with supply chain issues, long lead procurements and severe cost escalation. We’ve strategically navigated these challenges by being a part of a formal partnering process with the city of San Diego and our contractors on the project. Executives from all groups meet periodically to triage these issues and determine the best mitigation steps to take and cascade to field staff as appropriate. We’re proud to have developed a strong relationship with the city that positions us all on the same team rather than in opposition.
Check out a virtual tour of the North City Pure Water Demonstration Facility here. Learn more about Black & Veatch’s program and construction management services here.