CDM Smith and Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department Win NGWA Outstanding Groundwater Supply Award
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — CDM Smith and the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD) were recently awarded the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) Outstanding Groundwater Supply Project Award for the South Miami Heights Water Treatment Plant Injection Well System and Upper Floridan Aquifer Test Production Well Program. This award is presented to projects that display outstanding science, engineering, and innovation in providing groundwater to an intended end-use.
This highly complex project entailed an alternative water supply feasibility study for increased withdrawal of brackish water from the Upper Floridan aquifer. With fresh groundwater supplies under stress and population growth in south Florida continually rising, withdrawing more water from the Upper Floridan became a potentially viable option for WASD. Because they are delicately situated between two environmentally sensitive areas—Everglades National Park to the west and Biscayne Bay to the east—WASD needed to ensure that use of this alternative water source would be able to pass regulatory muster. In addition, the hydrogeology of the Upper Floridan was largely unknown. Consequently, WASD engaged CDM Smith to lead a 2-year, $20M hydrogeologic test program to confirm the long-term viability of the Upper Floridan as a drinking water source.
“This was a hugely challenging and intensive effort,” says Jason Mills, CDM Smith senior geologist. “Normally, these types of investigations involve one well, and that’s a major project. For this project, we had up to four rigs drilling simultaneously, in near 24/7 operation. The contractor mobilized $30M in equipment, we were acquiring and sifting through huge amounts of data every day, and we developed an elaborate $1.5M fluid management system to provide environmental protection during drilling. But this allowed us to truly test the viability of the aquifer. Because WASD was committed to doing this right, we got much more accurate data that will help drive smarter decisions.”
With future growth projected in Miami-Dade County, and given its responsibility to operate within environmentally-conscious regulations, WASD has invested in its future through better understanding the alternative supply opportunities in the Upper Floridian aquifer. “WASD has put a lot of energy into determining the best course of action in full alignment to its roadmap for a resilient future,” said CDM Smith project manager Daniel Maher. “Successfully working side by side with WASD helped make this very complicated project a success and provided data that will guide capital and operational water resources decisions. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome and it’s great to see the collaboration recognized with this award.”
The National Ground Water Association is a community of groundwater professionals working together to advance groundwater knowledge and the success of our members through education and outreach; advocacy; cooperation and information exchange; and enhancement of professional practices.
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