CDM Smith's Clean Water 2020 Program for Columbia, S.C., Wins National Award

News Item
CDM Smith's Clean Water 2020 Program for Columbia, S.C., Wins National Award
April 14, 2016
Program Management Approach Builds Smarter Infrastructure in South Carolina's Capital


WASHINGTON, DC—CDM Smith's work for the city of Columbia, South Carolina, has been recognized with an Honor Award in Operations and Maintenance from the American Academy of Envi­ron­men­tal Engineers and Scientists (AAEES). The award was presented at the AAEES awards luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 2016.

Columbia's wastewater services faced aging infra­struc­ture, budgetary constraints, deferred maintenance, and outdated operations and maintenance systems. As a result, increased sanitary sewer overflows resulted in an U.S. Envi­ron­men­tal Protection Agency (EPA) consent decree. To respond, the city developed the Clean Water 2020 program in collab­o­ra­tion with program manager CDM Smith. Clean Water 2020 builds smarter infra­struc­ture and implements best business practices for the city. 

This project entailed, in part, a holistic assessment of Columbia’s complex system, including 67,000 service connections, 1,027 miles of gravity main, 30 miles of force main, 27,995 manholes and 56 pump stations. Once all these assets were evaluated, the data was added to an asset register to support efficient maintenance and budgeting for replacement and growth. The asset register will enable the city to plan, in detail, month-by-month and year-by-year as it maintains what it has and invests for the future. The city plans to spend more than $750 million on wastewater infra­struc­ture in the next several years. 

The improve­ments proved their quality in October 2015, when flooding fueled by Hurricane Joaquin struck the city, causing damage and fatalities. Post-storm assessment of damage to city pump stations and equipment took just 1 month, thanks to the improve­ments. The response time to perform repairs was also substan­tially decreased. City Manager Teresa Wilson notes, “Previously, there were no means by which to track and evaluate asset conditions before and after a flood event. CDM Smith’s contri­bu­tions to the city’s program helped prepare us to respond to the devastating impacts the flooding had on the city’s infra­struc­ture.” 

AAEES is a nonprofit orga­ni­za­tion that promotes excellence in envi­ron­men­tal engineering and science by providing board certi­fi­ca­tion to qualified envi­ron­men­tal engineers and scientists. The group provides industry training and also recognizes outstanding achieve­ments in the industry. For more information about the AAEES awards competition, please visit the AAEES website.

CDM Smith provides lasting and integrated solutions in water, environment, trans­porta­tion, energy and facilities to public and private clients worldwide. As a full-service engineering and construc­tion firm, we deliver exceptional client service, quality results and enduring value across the entire project life cycle.