Orange County Sanitation District Capital Improvements Program (CA)

A 10-Year, Multibillion-Dollar Plan

Situated between Los Angeles and San Diego counties, and bordered on the north by Riverside County and to the south by the Pacific Ocean, Orange County, California, comprises 798 square miles, has 42 miles of coastline, and enjoys a population of over 3 million. The largest wastewater treatment facilities in Orange County are owned and operated by a public agency known as the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD).

OCSD provides wastewater treatment services to approximately 2.5 million people—about 80% of Orange County’s total population—within 471 square miles of central and northwest Orange County. The OCSD facilities consist of two wastewater treatment plants—one in Fountain Valley and one in Huntington Beach—plus numerous pump stations and sewer lines that crisscross its service area. Through these facilities, OCSD successfully collects, conveys, and treats 243 million gallons of wastewater generated daily in its service area before discharging the treated water into the Pacific Ocean.

Adoption of new standards spurs CIP

In July 2002, the OCSD Board of Directors adopted a resolution to treat all wastewater collected from its service area and discharged into the ocean in accordance with secondary treatment standards as defined by the Federal Clean Water Act under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Adopting this resolution required OCSD to proceed immediately with planning, designing, and implementing treatment methods to meet the secondary treatment standards of 30 parts per million (ppm) of biological oxygen demand and 30 ppm of total suspended solids. In November 2002, the Board unanimously agreed that OCSD proceed with submitting the ocean discharge permit application to the EPA, Region IX; and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Santa Ana Region. Concurrent with the Board’s approval, OCSD embarked on a 10-year, multibillion-dollar CIP consisting of over 179 projects to be planned, designed, and constructed in order to have the necessary treatment facilities in place.

Parsons selected as a partner to support construction managment

Before the board adopted the resolution, the OCSD staff were aware that outside assistance would be required to implement the aggressive CIP successfully. To this end, OCSD solicited proposals from a number of firms and in August 2002 awarded a multiyear contract to a joint venture between Parsons and CH2M, with Parsons as the lead. The contract is renewable annually and provides OCSD with program and construction management support services to upgrade the two wastewater treatment plants, upgrade and/or replace regional pump stations, and refurbish/replace numerous large-diameter sewer lines that collect and transport the wastewater.

The joint venture is aptly named Integrated Program Management Consultants (IPMC) because members of the IPMC staff are collocated and integrated with OCSD staff at the two operating plants. This integration enables members of both organizations to use their collective experience in scheduling the projects, managing design consultants, conducting engineering reviews on submittals, and reporting on program/project status. It also provides a unified—and seamless—team approach with each organization learning skills from the other. As time goes on, each organization can incorporate the skills gained through this integration into their respective companies.