The Eagle River Water and Sanitation District's Master Plan Improvements for their existing wastewater treatment facility is helping to prepare for future water needs. In a region that attracts visitors year-round, the project team had to closely coordinate the project with ERWSD, the Town of Vail and Vail Resorts to mitigate disruptions to the city’s tourism industry.

This project includes facility upgrades that replace equipment with more efficient alternatives. The headworks building – the first step of the wastewater filtration process – underwent renovations to replace the screening equipment and enhance existing grit removal on the influent waste stream. The five existing aeration basins were upgraded one at a time on a rolling schedule so there was no downtime in facility operations. One of the key aspects of the project is the expansion of the facility's UV water disinfection capacity. A second UV treatment channel was to prepare for surges in demand at the facility.

Other plant improvements included:

  • Relocation of the primary electrical power feed to the facility, along with the addition of a new diesel emergency generator to serve as backup power for the entire facility.
  • Structural repairs to the Aeration Basin roof structure and entry plaza area.
  • Addition of an emergency plant bypass line to allow influent flow to bypass the Vail facility and send it to ERWSD’s downstream wastewater treatment facility in Avon
  • Miscellaneous electrical and instrumentation controls and upgrades on existing treatment systems in the plant facility to allow for improved system monitoring and adjustment.

This fast-tracked project had schedule constraints to reduce the impact on visitors to the Vail area. With high demands on the facility during ski season, construction could not begin until April and had to be completed by Christmas before the peak in ski traffic. The vast majority of the work dictated that the project schedule span May to December with quick completion of any potentially disruptive construction activities before summer tourism picked up. One of the forward-thinking features of this project was the installation of an 18-inch sewer bypass system. This system serves as a backup, allowing the diversion of waste further downstream in Avon if the plant reaches capacity. The bypass system was installed along the river where a popular bike path exists. The team was able to mobilize earlier than planned and coordinate materials on an expedited schedule to finish the bypass and open up the bike path by Memorial Day, as requested by the client.

While the original completion date was set for December 20, 2023, the District became concerned about an increase in wastewater flow between Thanksgiving and Christmas and asked to accelerate the aeration basin and headworks portions of the schedule. The project team collaborated with the client, design engineer and major subconsultants to rearrange scheduled activities to accommodate the client’s needs.

PCL was able to supplement project staff from other project sites in the region to maintain schedule momentum. The addition of expert manpower allowed PCL to accelerate the schedule without pulling resources from other key project scopes – meeting the new completion date.

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