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Citizens Energy project helps pave the way for park refurbishment

Citizens Energy Group (Citizens) had two important goals with its Collection Consolidation Sewer Project on the White River in Indianapolis. One was to improve water quality in the White River by reducing the overflow frequency of a major combined sewer overflow (CSO) by 95 percent. The other was to help set the stage for other quality-of-life improvements for people living in the area.

001-SA--032615-IMG_20140911_153640_051-webThe project is located at White River Parkway near Belmont Avenue and Reverend Mozel Sanders Park. Established in 1931, Mozel Park is one of the oldest neighborhood parks in Indianapolis and has been inactive for many years.

Because both Citizens and the City of Indianapolis are party to a Federal Consent Decree with the Environmental Protection Agency, there is a great deal of coordination and partnering that occurs. John Morgan with Citizens’ Special Projects Team explained that this project is part of Citizens’ and the City’s long term control plan, (LTCP) reducing the frequency of CSO events was an important step in improving the riverside environment. “We’re also working with Indy Parks on this. They’re trying to set things in motion to eventually open that park again.”

Morgan said this project is part of the White River Tunnel System described in the Citizens’ LTCP, which will require a number of deep shafts to be constructed near and adjacent to city parks. “That’s because most of the parks are located around streams, and that’s what we’re trying to clean up,” he said.

Morgan said, “One of the most important things about this project is that we got the work done way before the Indy Parks Department plans to fully develop and open this park to the public. This was an important goal for Citizens.”

Morgan said that from a logistical standpoint, the location of the project didn’t present too many challenges. Nate Crowell, F.A. Wilhelm Construction’s project manager agreed, “Being in an open area we had a lot more space than we normally have to work in. The real challenge was in the construction.”

001-SA--032615-IMG_20140911_153416_842-webWhen complete, the White River Tunnel System will capture and convey overflow resulting from heavy rains to Citizens’ Southport Advanced Wastewater Treatment facility instead of releasing combined sewage into the White River through CSOs.  At this site, Wilhelm Construction crews installed a diversion channel to direct flow through the sewer line down to a drop shaft and into the tunnel and built a second shaft to provide proper ventilation for the system. With these structures in place, they then cut into a 96” reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) sewer to intercept the flow before it reaches the CSO outfall.

Installing the casings for the shafts required drilling more than 200 feet deep and through more than 100 feet of rock.  Crowell said, “The drilling operation for the two shafts was very impressive and unique.” He said drilling such large shafts, 10 and 12.5 feet in diameter, that far down and through so much rock required a very involved drilling system and specialized equipment.

Crowell said another challenge was supporting the 96” RCP sewer while the diversion structure was constructed. “We had to build a massive steel support system in the hole to support the existing sewer pipe,” Crowell said. He explained that Wilhelm crews had to support the 96” RCP pipe in order to excavate down 25 feet below grade and build the cast-in-place structure. Once the walls were complete, they were able to cut and remove the sewer pipe.

According to Crowell, the project is on track to be finished on schedule.  Morgan said he is very happy with how this project went, “Wilhelm has proven better than we ever thought they would be. They stayed ahead of the game looking ahead to keep supplies ordered and to identify challenges before they were in front of us.” He added that when problems do occur, Wilhelm works as a team to resolve them.

Morgan said that for Citizens, that while cost control is crucial, the decision to go to Wilhelm was not only a price point decision. “Wilhelm’s proposal showed us that they get it. They get how Citizens operates, they get community involvement, and their reputation for concrete work is well known.”

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