The Delaware County Regional Sewer District broke ground today on one of the first public-sector projects in the state to use an innovative design and construction process. To date, this process has enabled the county to expand the project by more than 20% at nearly the original cost. Due to the project’s significance, it also was awarded a $5 million grant from the Ohio Department of Development’s Ohio BUILDS Water Infrastructure Grant Program.
The Olentangy Environmental Control Center (OECC) Renewal Project is a keystone element in a system-wide master plan adopted by the Delaware County Commissioners in 2017. Located at 10333 Olentangy River Road in Powell, the OECC was Delaware County’s first large-scale facility for wastewater treatment. First built in 1979, then replaced by a second facility at the same site in 1994, it is now being rebuilt and expanded to handle increasing demand for sewer service in Liberty and Orange townships and in key growth corridors along Sawmill Parkway and US Route 23.
The $40 million OECC Renewal Project is the first in Delaware County to utilize Progressive Design Build (PDB), an engineering, design and construction process where, instead of “bidding out” construction after design is completed, design is done in collaboration with engineering and construction firms, thereby enabling better design decisions while lowering costs. The Delaware County Regional Sewer District (DCRSD) is working with the Columbus office of design-engineering firm Arcadis U.S., Inc., and Peterson Construction Company of Wapakoneta, Ohio.
“Planning work on this project started before the pandemic,” said DCRSD Director Tiffany Maag, “but, given the use of the PDB method, the project will be completed ahead of schedule for less cost than originally anticipated.”
Maag noted that, by having Peterson involved early in the design process, many now-common challenges with supply chain delays, labor shortages, and dramatic increases in materials costs were easily navigated.
“They also helped us identify modifications to an existing facility,” Maag said, “so that, in lieu of the original plan to mothball the facility and build a completely new one, we saved nearly $6 million, which, in turn, is allowing us to layer on additional improvements.”
Commissioner Barb Lewis, president of this year’s Board, commended the project team’s collaborative approach: “Together, they thought to look at renewing existing assets instead of building something new that would have cost us and the taxpayers more money.”
Commissioner Jeff Benton said, “This is a great example of how smart planning contributes to smart growth here in Delaware County. The current economy has created serious challenges, but the PDB method has prompted us to come up with a great solution.”
Added Commissioner Gary Merrell, “We knew from the master plan put in place that we would have to build capacity in this area. I’m pleased we’ll be able to do so without wasting money or existing assets.”
Rob Knapke, Vice President at Peterson Construction, explained how the PDB process reduced the project schedule by an estimated six months: “A major benefit of PDB is pre-procurement of equipment during the design phase. That helped us avoid the current excessive delays, reducing our timeline and saving Delaware County close to $1 million because of the cost escalations that have since occurred.”
Arcadis Project Manager Chad Dunn added, “The seamless project collaboration between the designer, construction manager and Delaware County has been outstanding on this project. As a result, we were able to easily navigate recent supply chain delays and materials market volatility.”
The Delaware County Regional Sewer District serves more than 111,000 people with 531 miles of sewer lines. For more information about the DCRSD, visit their website at: https://regionalsewer.co.delaware.oh.us/. Learn more about Peterson Construction Company at: https://petersonconstructionco.com/. For more information about Arcadis U.S., visit their website at: https://www.arcadis.com/.