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Case Study


Every Challenge Has a Backstory

Lake Ontario provides drinking water to millions of residents, including the 650,000 residents in the metropolitan Rochester, New York area and five adjacent counties serviced by the Monroe County Water Authority (MCWA).

When confronted with the need to upgrade its drinking water intake system, MCWA turned to OBG as a trusted advisor to address financial, regulatory, and technical challenges and to manage the design, construction, and commissioning of a $150 million, 100-million gallon per day water supply program. For MCWA, the Eastside Water Supply Project realized a vision for regional water supply that originated in the 1950s.

OBG’s Focus on Solutions

To treat and convey water withdrawn from Lake Ontario to meet the increasing drinking water needs of the region and provide future sustainability, the project included an intake that could be extended into the lake’s deep, cold waters – providing a unique integrated solution for industrial cooling and treatable water supply.

OBG’s solution was based on constructing a new, one-mile, nine-foot-diameter intake tunnel deep under the shores of Lake Ontario. That tunnel now draws up to 50 million gallons a day of fresh lake water to supply a new water treatment plant (WTP). A new pump station delivers water three miles from the intake tunnel system to the WTP using a new, 48-inch diameter water main. At the treatment plant, the water is purified and filtered before it is pumped out into MCWA’s distribution system. In total, the project built 13 miles of new water mains to connect the plant to its distribution system.

The solution not only meets the region’s drinking water needs now and into the future, but also provides the opportunity for free-cool technology, which draws water from the coldest, deepest part of Lake Ontario to supply cooling to the surrounding business district.

Results that Matter

The project’s success can be measured through the delivery of safe and reliable drinking water to the region and the additional benefit of energy conservation through savings of more than one megawatt of energy pumping.

The project also enhanced the local community through the use of green practices, such as the inclusion of more than 155 tons of recycled steel; implementation of a natural freeze-dry process for residuals that saves 100,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year; and the creation of 10 acres of new wetlands.