Burns & McDonnell has been working in partnership with the City of Wichita on its water treatment infrastructure since the 1990s. This long-standing relationship meant our team was deeply familiar with critical aspects of this project. Our team was selected to lead this progressive design-build water project with its joint venture partner Alberici.
A progressive design-build approach allows our team to facilitate collaboration among the city, designer and contractor at the earliest possible stages of the project to see that the design progresses with input from all project stakeholders. As the design evolves, our team can make design decisions within the context of the capital budget and life cycle cost, ultimately maximizing value.
Our work to make the Northwest Wichita Water Facility a reality began in 2018. The team defined the requirements of a new 120-MGD facility and completed the preliminary design that had the ability to treat 100% groundwater, 100% surface water and any blend of the two independent sources to current and anticipated drinking water standards.
The facility was also designed to include the equivalent of 24 hours of water storage and a high-service pump station to facilitate water delivery directly to the existing and planned water distribution system. The facility will be served by underground electrical power and will include backup generation sufficient to meet operation and maintenance power requirements.
After a year of preliminary design, value engineering and process optimization, our team was able to deliver the City of Wichita a $494 million cost proposal — $15 million below the city’s capital budget — with a projected $6 million per year in operational savings. Our team also helped the city complete its application for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) funding through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This facility is one of 38 water infrastructure capital projects that the EPA is financing. This funding source, paired with state revolving loan funds, will generate a low-cost funding alternative to deliver the facility for Wichita.
The Northwest Wichita Water Facility is one of the largest infrastructure projects the City of Wichita has undertaken, which makes stakeholder engagement a major component of our work. This project affects ratepayers; therefore, our team is helping stakeholders understand the importance of the project and the phases of work.
The new water treatment facility will treat multiple sources including groundwater, aquifer storage, recovery sourced water and surface water through a single treatment plant with multiple treatment schemes. This gives the city flexibility to switch between water sources depending on climatic condition, achieving the city’s goal of developing a diverse and sustainable water supply that serves more than a quarter of Kansas’ population. It will also provide the city with appropriately sized operations, laboratory, maintenance and administration spaces.