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California Design-Build Wastewater Facility Sets Record, Earns Sustainability Recognition

Jacobs’ San José-Santa Clara wastewater design-build project is the largest advanced wastewater facility in the western U.S. and recently won Bentley’s The Year in Infrastructure Awards for 2020 for its headworks aspect.

The San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility is the largest advanced wastewater treatment facility in the western U.S. and serves the Silicon Valley area, supporting 1.4 million people and 17,000 businesses. Jacobs’ work is split into two operations: Headworks and Cogeneration.

The Headworks Facility is a $129-million progressive design-build project to expand the pretreatment capabilities of the original 50-year-old facility. Work began in 2018 to design and build a new larger and sustainable wet-weather headworks facility. The Headworks upgrade is part of a 10-year capital improvements program that was started in 2014.

The Cogeneration aspect is a $95-million progressive design-build that includes four new engine generators, a heat recovery system, and gas treatment system to replace aging power generation equipment. Jacobs was contracted as the design-builder in 2016. Some of the project scope includes a new digester gas treatment system and engine exhaust system to reduce contamination to the air.

Working with the client to keep employees safe

As always, safety is a top priority, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jacobs worked closely with the City of San José during construction to implement onsite COVID-19 protocols and maintain excellent safety performance, achieving a total Recordable Incident Rate of 0.77 (against an industry average of 1.0) and a Days Away/Restricted Time rate of 0.00 (against an industry average of 2.3). The Cogeneration employees worked over 260,000 labor hours without a days away/restricted time safety incident, and the Headworks employees have worked over 86,000 labor hours without a days away/restricted time safety incident.

Doing great work, winning respectable awards, donating to charity

To solidify the great work Jacobs is doing in the City of San José, we recently won an award from Bentley’s 2020 Year in Infrastructure Awards conference 2020 for the work on the Headworks Facility. The Year in Infrastructure Awards is an exciting and well-regarded global competition that recognizes advancements in infrastructure. These awards bring together infrastructure professionals and members of the media from around the globe to share innovative practices in infrastructure project design, engineering, construction and operations.

Jacobs earned the Special Recognition Award for Advancing Sustainable Water for the Headworks project. With the accolades came a $1,000 donation from Bentley Systems to Jacobs’ charity of choice: Water for People.

Key features of the Headworks design included an innovative approach to the grit removal process with a unique removal sequence. Pumping before grit removal allows for increased grit removal from the collection system before a large storm. In addition, we designed the largest vertical turbine solids handling pumps within a wastewater treatment facility in company history.

Thanks to the Bentley Systems programs our team used, the project delivery process increased quality, provided faster and clearer decision making and enhanced collaboration among the design team and with our client.

“The importance of creating a robust solution for the Headworks process for our facility was a top priority,” says City of San Jose  Principal Engineer Kapil Verma. “Jacobs provided multiple design scenarios for early consideration. We appreciate the powerful Bentley tools we used during design, as well as the visualization environment which enabled us to select optimized locations, process sequences and equipment layouts.”

Bentley Systems is an infrastructure engineering software company that provides innovative software to advance the world’s infrastructure – sustaining both the global economy and environment. Its software solutions are used by professionals, and organizations of every size, for the design, construction and operations of roads and bridges, rail and transit, water and wastewater, public works and utilities, buildings and campuses and industrial facilities.

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