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CDM Smith and Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department Win NGWA Outstanding Groundwater Supply Award

February 27, 2018
Miami NGWA award CDM Smith senior geologist Jason Mills, WASD hydro­ge­ol­o­gist Idia McFarlane, and CDM Smith senior project manager Daniel Maher, pictured at the award ceremony.

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.

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.