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Brelje & Race Awarded Engineering Honors for Fire Recovery Project in Anderson Springs

Since our founding in Santa Rosa in 1956, Brelje & Race’s commitment to the North Coast region has run deep. The recent catastrophic wildfires have wrought unprecedented destruction to many communities in Sonoma and Lake Counties, and Brelje & Race has played a vital role by providing specialized services to several local agencies working to rebuild and restore critical infrastructure.

In the Fall of 2015, the Valley Fire leveled the rural Lake County community of Anderson Springs, destroying all but 19 of the roughly 200 homes that were located along the high-quality trout stream named Anderson Creek. Brelje & Race provided engineering design and construction management services for a wastewater collection and transmission system for the community, which had been a logistical hurdle to the important work of rebuilding. We’re pleased to announce that our peers in the Civil Engineering field have recognized our firm for our contribution to this vital project. The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), California awarded Brelje & Race an Engineering Excellence Award of Merit for our work on the Anderson Springs Wastewater Improvements Project and presented the award at their awards celebration, held virtually on February 4th.

About the Project

In Anderson Springs, post-fire rebuilding efforts were halted due to the need for a modern sewer system. Before the fire the outmoded septic tanks and on-site disposal fields that had served the community threatened water quality in adjacent Anderson Creek and could not simply be returned to service under current water quality regulations and local building codes.

Brelje & Race contracted with the Lake County Sanitary District, serving as the prime consultant to provide design engineering, environmental permitting, and construction management services for the wastewater collection system improvements. Our firm also assisted the District and local stakeholders with securing Federal and State funding so the project could move forward.

Brelje & Race identified a compliant alternative using a low-pressure force main system with grinder pumps as a cost-effective and minimally intrusive solution for re-establishing sewer service in the community, connecting it to the Middletown Wastewater Treatment Plant two miles to the east along State Route 175. The pressure sewer system was comprised of fused HDPE piping ranging from 2-inch to 4-inch for the collection system and 6-inch from the community to the treatment plant.  Each parcel of the community was provided a connection stub and grinder pump stations provided for each property that was rebuilt.  Wet wells for the grinder pump stations were sized to provide 1 to 2 days of storage to provide continuation of service during power outages or equipment maintenance.

Less than five years after the disaster, the pressure sewer main system improvements have been completed and are in service with individual grinder pumps installed at each residence as they are rebuilt.  To date, the community has nearly 100 homes connected to the new system and re-occupied.  We are especially proud that this project was delivered on schedule and below budget as well as allowing a community to be re-born.

About the Award

ACEC California’s annual Engineering Excellence Awards competition recognizes engineering and land surveying firms from across the state for projects that demonstrate an exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement, and value. A panel of distinguished judges drawn from the Engineering field select projects for recognition from a diverse pool of entries in twelve different project categories. This year the committee received 51 entries from 31 firms. The annual Engineering Excellence Awards event raises funds for ACEC California’s scholarship foundation, which awarded over $50,000 in grants to promising engineering students from across the state this year. Visit ACEC California online to learn more about the Engineering Excellence Awards and ACEC California’s scholarship program.

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