AP was recently awarded the 2015 Project of the Year (for projects under $10 million) by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Columbia Section for their work on the Port of Walla Walla’s Burbank Business Park Wastewater System Improvements project. The Project of the Year award program is an annual design competition that recognizes engineering achievements that help improve the quality of life of people impacted by the project, contributes to the economic development of the region, and incorporates the principles of sustainable development.
About the Award Winning Project
Because Burbank lacked a modern wastewater system, residences, schools, and industries had to rely on septic systems and drainfields to deal with wastewater. Years of septic system use had negatively impacted the groundwater, making it potentially unsafe for children and people with health challenges to drink. AP was challenged with finding a cost-effective, feasible solution for a wastewater system that could serve the entire business park, area schools, and future wholesale customers.
Since discharge options would be very expensive and require the Port to oversee and maintain a complex wastewater system, the Port’s preferred option was to discharge to the City of Pasco’s treatment facility, which was only 2.5 miles away. There was, however, one obstacle standing in the way of this solution: the 2,000-foot wide Snake River. Pasco is located on the northwest side of the Snake River, while Burbank is located on the southeast side. After exploring various alternatives for transporting wastewater across the river, the most cost-effective method was to construct a pipeline though the basalt rock layer nearly 40 feet under the river and 80 feet below ground level.
The completed project cleared the way for new industries, jobs, and commerce and helped improve the quality of the area’s groundwater by eliminating nine of the area’s largest septic systems.