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, Public Sector Lead, 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 Virgin Islands.

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

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, water entities as we design these extensions. We are helping to provide a clean, reliable source of potable water.”

Tackling challenges, exceeding expectations

Each and every water project undertaken by CEC comes with its own set of challenges. CEC staff 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, the customers, and CEC.”

Another big CEC project resulted in 400 customers having access to the public water lines for the first time. “We couldn’t get it done fast enough,” Fluharty says.

Each and every water project undertaken by CEC comes with its own set of challenges.

The process

CEC provides municipalities with full-service capabilities including studies, analysis, engineering, and also can provide additional support for:

  • Financing and funding
  • Surveying
  • Design drawings and specifications
  • Bidding and construction-related services

CEC hydraulically analyzes existing and proposed transmission mains and 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 can provide strategies for additional or replacement water storage tanks.

CEC designs elevated water storage tanks and standpipes to provide water ready for delivery without pumping. Storage tanks that float hydraulically on the system stabilize 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 economical alternative to elevated storage tanks, in addition to designing and preparing final drawings and specifications for bidding tanks and provides construction-related services.

Pump stations are used to boost area pressures and to separate pressure zones hydraulically. 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.

 Building on expertise

“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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