CEC Designing Projects to Get Public Water to Those Who Need It

November 28, 2022

Turning on the faucet and filling a glass with clean, fresh water seems like a normal part of any day. That, however, is not always the case.

“You’d be surprised by the number of people without public water. There are a lot of wells still in this country,” says Matthew Fluharty, Water Resources engineer, and a Vice President in CEC’s Bridgeport office.

“Nobody really thinks about water until you turn on the tap and there is none. We can’t live without water.”

Fluharty, early in his 22-year career, rolled up his sleeves and learned all he could about water projects. Since joining CEC in 2018, he’s thankful for the opportunity to help bring water to those who need it all across the country and in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

There are many people who either have poor quality well water or a lack of volume — or both.

CEC provides comprehensive services to design and support construction of expansions and extensions to public water systems to get clean water to people in need.

“When it comes to water line extensions, there is a definite need,” Fluharty says. By the time a project gets to us, it’s something people want. “We are working with cities, towns, townships, and water authorities as we design these extensions. We are helping to provide a clean, reliable source of potable water.”

Each and every water project undertaken by CEC comes with its own set of challenges. CEC tackles those challenges with confidence. “Every public sector water project is unique; CEC always relies on the fundamentals and the requirements of how the system needs to work,” Fluharty says.

For the most part, these line extensions are multi-phase projects. CEC designs the plan to extend a line a few miles and when the need arises again, goes back and designs another extension of the same line for a few more miles. “It’s all based on need,” Fluharty says.

He points to a $2 million project in Pennsboro, West Virginia, as an example. The first phase added 30 new customers, while the second added another 20 to 30. “When it comes to water, the lines can keep being extended. It’s good for everyone — the water entity and the customers.”

Another big CEC project resulted in 400 customers having access to public water for the first time. “By the time we were awarded the project, those customers were anxiously awaiting its completion,” Fluharty says.

CEC provides municipalities with full-service capabilities including studies, analysis, and engineering.

CEC also provides:
■ Support for financing and funding
■ Surveying
■ Design drawings and specifications
■ Bidding and construction-related

CEC hydraulically analyzes existing and proposed transmission mains, as well as local lines of a community’s water distribution system.

The analyses identify lines and areas requiring upgrading or reinforcing to meet local needs, Fire Underwriters Survey recommendations, and EPA requirements. Thorough hydraulic analyses of distribution systems and storage tanks sometimes identify the need for additional or replacement water storage tanks.

CEC designs elevated water storage tanks and standpipes to provide water ready for delivery without pumping. Elevated storage tanks stabilize system pressures, provide water for firefighting, and allow plants to treat water at a more constant rate where their operation works best and is most efficient.

CEC also designs ground storage tanks with pumping facilities as an alternative to elevated storage tanks. CEC designs and prepares final drawings and specifications for various water storage tanks and assists clients with the bidding and construction phases of each project.

Pump stations are used to boost area pressures — the water pressure provided to customers. “We often need to build a pump station to boost water pressure to areas that have low or no pressure,” Fluharty says. This commonly occurs in larger systems or when surface topography reduces area pressures significantly.

CEC analyzes the community’s specific needs and designs in-line booster pumps or pump stations with associated ground or elevated storage to increase area pressures.

“We continuously learn by working with project managers and contractors. Our expertise builds with each project,” Fluharty says. CEC calls upon the collective experience of its water experts in 29 offices across our footprint for all projects — both public and private. We bring collective best management practices and senior leadership insights into everything we do. 

About the Author

CEC Staff

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC) provides comprehensive market-oriented consulting services to advance client strategic business objectives. CEC is recognized for delivering innovative design solutions and integrated expertise in air quality, civil engineering, ecological sciences, environmental engineering and sciences, manufacturing infrastructure services, survey/geospatial, waste management, and water resources.

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